Snoopy gives the best Snoopy hugs! I hope your life is touched by me sharing what love hugs mean to Karen and I. Karen gives sweet and passionate love hugs, but don’t tell Snoopy I said that. It might hurt his feelings.
Yesterday Karen and I had a beautiful conversation together about the importance of love hugs. She shared with me how she is deeply touched by the ways I show my love for her that take little time, but mean so much. These love hugs for Karen are doing things like leaving the outside light on for her when she is out running errands like grocery shopping, and won’t be back until late at night. When I get a beverage I ask her if she wants a drink. If I cook a meal I leave some for her, so when she returns there is something tasty for her to eat.
Karen said to me, “Darling, if more husbands would think of their wives by doing things for them without a large investment of their time, they would reap huge dividends in the intimacy from their wives.” I smiled as Karen said with earnestness, “Kevin, many guys need this kind of advice you have to give.” I will pray for God to open those doors in His way.
I thanked Karen for her many love hugs. When I have had a long day it’s so comforting to sleep in a freshly made bed. When she goes to the grocery store, she will bring back some unexpected treats like a blueberry pie or cheese rice chips. Well, they aren’t potato chips. The rice is healthy:) Karen makes a chocolate cake with chocolate icing I can have using cocoa. Store chocolate with its preservatives causes me to have anaphylactic attacks. Karen greets me in the morning with a kiss. She reads the Bible to me at night before we go to bed. She tells me what a blessing I am to her. I say to her there are so many ways she is a joy to my life.
There is, though, a far better love hugger than us. In our faith we believe that is God. Think of the many ways He shows His love for us. Every day He paints a different picture in the sky. Some days the sky is blue; other days it’s grey. At night you can see beautiful colours like indigo, red and blue at sunset.
Have you noticed when your life is the roughest someone comes along to uplift your spirit? I believe that is God showing His great love for you. The apostle Paul when describing that love to the Christians at Ephesus said, “…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,”(Eph. 3:17-18, NIV). Reflecting upon that Scripture I remember a young Korean minister in training named Kim Dong-Jin, who was sent to Canada by his area leader. I’ll never forget how he described that experience. He went into the leader’s office. He has a huge desk. Kim Dong-Jin said, “I felt so little when I sat down.” The area leader said, “Kim Dong-Jin, you go Canada.” I said, “Yes, sir!”
Kim Dong-Jin used the text of Ephesians 3:17-18 for a sermon at a gathering of all of the ministerial students with members of our church. That smile of his as he shared what Christ’s love personally meant has me thinking about how he gave me a brotherly love hug every day. That radiating smile filled with Christ’s love was Kim Dong-Jin’s way of living out his faith. I pray he too felt the love hugs from me as I shared how God was teaching me what it means to love and serve Him. I pray one day I get the opportunity to tell him how much he touched my life. God used Kim Dong-Jin to uplift my spirit as I went through those stretching experiences living in community as a young man in my early twenties. God put people into my path who irritated me, but helped me mature as a Christian.
Sometimes, the love hugs God gives us are meant to teach us what it means to truly love those you don’t always agree with. Hopefully, as we mature we learn to love others more the way our Father calls us to love. Giving God’s love hugs to those who have hurt us is the ultimate challenge of our love. I have seen how some of those I didn’t get along with as a young man have become friends. I had to be willing to admit where I was wrong. As we grow in the depth and breadth of our love, God challenges us to see thoe we were in conflict with from a different perspective. We develop a greater sensitivity to what they went through. We ask God to put His forgiveness in our hearts for those who have wounded us. I think that’s when God smiles most. He rewards us by giving those life-giving love hugs He specializes in.
Have you given someone a love hug today? If not, try touching just one life with one. You may be encouraged by the result so much, you offer others one too. Please let us know what a difference it made to the one receiving it, and to you.
In the business of the Christmas season take time to give those you care about love hugs. That’s what this time should be all about – the gift we give of ourselves to others. No one love hug is the same as the next. Each one is unique and has an enduring value, because it comes from the heart of God. He is the best love hugger. His embraces are not just for the present, but for all eternity.
Kevin and Karen Osborne are Christian pastoral counsellors and psychotherapists. Kevin is studying to become a chaplain and professor of Psychology specializing in Pastoral Theology. We have started You Can Hope Again Counselling. Karen enjoys doing cross-stitch while I like writing and singing songs. Karen makes me laugh when she sings the kitty bed-time song saying, “It’s that time. It’s the bestest kitty time of the day!” Kevin enjoys teasing the kitties and making them do kitty dances with music. Their kitty, Catherine, loves it when kitty daddeh sings All Things Bright and Beautiful. Kevin likes doing impressions. He tells children’s stories and helps others with their problems using his hand puppet, Dr. Teddy, who is a therapy bear. He is a partner with us in our counselling practice.We are available to assist with worship and preaching to give busy pastors and ministers a much-needed break. We offer in-office, and phone counselling to anyone in the world.