Wednesday 23 December 2009


If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator. If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook. If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing. If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens. Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Merry Christmas and lots of love to you and yours!

(Author Unknown)

I liked this powerfully-worded anonymously-authored Christmas Version of 1 Cor 13 so much I decided to whittle it down (about 35% from the original size) in order to meet the criteria of 1000 characters max, and attached it to a wonderful new animated Christmas cards designed by Jacquie Lawson - she's British, and my favourite card artist. (I've subscribed to her service for over 5 years.)

I'm sending it out as this year's Christmas card - including the spiritual inspiration - from The Canberra Hospital Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Department to a big list of people and offices around TCH as well as many friends and family living in other parts of the world.

I deliberately left off a personal signature at the very end. In other words, you have my permission to pass along the link to this Christmas card, freely blessing someone else of your choosing without it looking like it came from a third party - so feel quite free to "pay it forward!"
(This rather complex animated card is stored online, thus does not require downloading.)

Simply click on:

Hint: if you want people to see the original full-version of "1 Corinthians 13 - The Christmas Version" (above) as well as the "card" simply send them a copy of the url of this particular page on my blog:

Christmas cheer to all!
Chaplain Clair Hochstetler
Manager of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care,
The Canberra Hospital

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