When I reflect on what Christmas is meant to be, one word rises to the surface of my mind: love.
From decorating the fragrant tree to baking cookies that fill the house with scent of cinnamon and spice, to handing out mugs of hot chocolate—each action is filled with love.
Baking cookies reminds me of happy times spent in the kitchen with my children, all covered in flour, cookie-dough prints on aprons, and delighted grins on youthful faces. These experiences fill me with joy.
Christmas is a time to connect with family, friends, and neighbors. I love to hostess a neighborhood cookie exchange to meet new neighbors and get chummier with others I haven’t spent enough time with.
People experience love giving and receiving in different ways. Gary Chapman discussed in his book, The 5 Love Languages, ways we give and receive love: words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, physical touch, and quality time.
I puzzled out what I eagerly give and receive as acknowledgements of love. I appreciate words of praise, I like receiving gifts, I enjoy physical touch, and I’m thankful for acts of service.
But to make me glow with love, both giving and receiving, I crave the companionship of those I love and wish to show my love for. I’m a quality-of-time person. I would rather shop with a loved one than for a loved one. I’d prefer to dine with a loved one than receive a gift. Time spent with someone I love is the end-all for me.
But because quality of time spent together is the vitally important way to show and receive love for me does not mean my husband shares this trait. So, in giving love this Christmas season, my goal is discovering which of the five love languages my own loved ones need.
Who needs words of praise? Who needs tokens of love—gifts? Who needs to have hugs and hands held? Who needs me to give them help, acts of service? And who needs to spend quality time with me?
I want to put my love into action in the way that the person on the receiving end gains the most joy.
Anne Greene lives in McKinney, Texas, with her husband, a retired Colonel, Army Special Forces. They have four children and eight grandchildren. Whether writing contemporary or historical, her books celebrate the abundant life Jesus gives. Her novellas include Avoiding the Mistletoe, Keara’s Escape, Daredevils, Spur on the Moment Bride, A Christmas Belle, The Marriage Broker and the Mortician, A Fool for Love, A Groom for Christmas, and A Texas Christmas Mystery. Her Women of Courage series spotlights heroic women of World War II. Her award-winning Scottish historical romances include Masquerade Marriage and Marriage by Arrangement.