You’ve felt it too, I’m sure, that absolute poverty of words when you are trying to tell one of your beloved how much they mean to you. Thank God we are not left to words alone. The generation in which I grew up rarely spoke their “I love you’s” to their family members. But their lives were lived in sacrificial toil in tough conditions through long hours in season and out. And all of this was done for the sake of those at home who, whether they realized it or not, were dependent on such sacrifice. Too often the words, “I love you,” are glibly spoken and issue from a life that doesn’t square with the words. But when it’s real, it is beautiful. I favor the speaking of the words in the context of a life that demonstrates them.
William Gladstone, once the prime minister of England, had the duty of announcing the death of Princess Alice to the House of Commons. He described the little boy tossing in the delirium of diphtheria while his mother, the Princess, watched endlessly beside his bed. Mr. Gladstone told the House how the doctors had carefully warned Her Royal Highness on no account to inhale the child’s poisoned breath. He proceeded to tell how she laid her cool hand for a moment on the fevered brow of her son and how the boy, recognizing his mother, had raised up his arms and cried, “Kiss me, Momma, kiss me!” The instinct of motherhood proved stronger than the instinct of self-preservation. The lips of mother and child met; and the Princess paid the penalty of a mother’s love with her life.
There would be those who recoil at the action of that mother and call it foolish, wasteful or worse. But was it?
The world was tossing in the delirium of sin’s aftermath. Restless and heaving, death was in the air. The situation was hopeless. No cure was found. The deadly ill passed to all. The deep darkness held absolute sway. But a decision was made in the land of light. The Prince was coming to earth. He didn’t think twice about the decision. Yes, He knew full well the costs to be incurred. But He thought it well worthwhile to come just the same with the kiss of love…the kiss of life for the sin-sick and dying world of mankind. He didn’t have to do it. He was under no compulsion…except the compulsion of love. And, after all, that is the strongest compulsion of all, isn’t it?
He, in His great love and mercy, didn’t think we should be left to die alone. There are those who call it a fairytale, foolish or worse. But there are also those of us who call it the Gospel! Thank God that Jesus’ love for us is not merely verbal. Yes I am deeply grateful for the written love messages we have from our Lord, but these are only validated by the context of His life lived and given in sacrifice for all. He considered us with all our sin, but didn’t think that our sin took the full measure of us. He considered that with His help and through the brand new life He would give us, we were capable of more. We could become lovers too…people whose lives and whose words both sprung from the highest love which finds it source in our Heavenly Father. I tell you…love is amazing! But then, you already knew that, right?!