Every Christmas morning, as everyone takes turns opening presents, we play Christmas music in the background as the soundtrack for the event. This year I can’t be the only one that had changed it up a bit and something different playing on Christmas morning. Yes, it was the Beatles! Most of the Beatles catalog was made available for streaming on Christmas Eve on most major streaming services. Even though I owned most of their albums already and had ripped them to my personal cloud, it could not avoid getting caught up in what seemed like a historical event. It seemed too easy to just turn on an endless stream of Lennon-McCartney classics while we celebrated the birth of Jesus as a family. (Yes, that sounds odd to me as well, even as I typed it.)
Of course, about an hour into the playlist, we heard the classic “All You Need Is Love.” I sometimes look at this song as a naive look at reality, but on this Christmas morning, I thought that the Beatles may just be right! What came into my mind was the passage from today’s second reading from the First Letter of John: “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.”
Agape love (brotherly love) is something we all certainly do need. We often times look at this form of love as leading to good will towards all and this world certainly can use more of that. Eros (romantic love) is necessary to populate the earth and to raise up beauty in the face of the ugliness of evil. Our world would certainly be lacking without the touch of a loved one or the feeling of elation caused by a romantic rendezvous. Philia (friendship and loyalty) helps us see that our family is more than blood relations. The bonds humans form between the best of friends can help us through many a hardship and disappointment. Life sometimes only seems bearable because of the relationships we have with others. And finally, Storge (empathy or parental affection) is needed so that we can see the bigger picture and sometimes compromise on our wants so that the needs of others can be met.
BUT NONE OF THESE are ALL that we need! They are all important, but we need much more to survive, live life, and thrive. But we find all our wants, needs, and desires fulfilled in God, the one who created us and knows us and loves us completely and unconditionally. THIS LOVE is perfect. THIS LOVE is the font of all other loves. THIS LOVE is all we need.
Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us,
and his love is brought to perfection in us.
This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us,
that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify
that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,
God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.
God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us,
that we have confidence on the day of judgment
because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love,
but perfect love drives out fear
because fear has to do with punishment,
and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.