Saturday, December 29, 2012

On the Fifth Day of Christmas...

“On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... five gold rings –  four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.”

How many gold rings have you received in your life? Five? All at once? That’s a lot. And given such extravagant generosity, why not diamonds? Because diamonds’ resale value is always less than gold? That’s not a reason that befits true love!

Diamonds have been treasured as gemstones since their use in religious icons in the ancient world. But the main reason they have perceived value today is because of a century of ingrained marketing strategy and the monopoly that DeBeers enjoys.

Heaven knows “true love” itself is marketed today. You may pass by those magazines and tabloids at the checkout lane of the grocery store. And you may not have watched the PBS television special, “Finding Your Own True Love” or purchased any of a number of bestsellers at Barnes & Noble about improving your love life.

But we can miss the real problem here. It’s not so much that love is trivialized as that it begins at the wrong end. True love is not something we find and make real but something we’ve already been given! When we cannot recognize how much we are already loved we “look for love in all the wrong places,” as Waylon Jennings sang. We’re drawn to whatever feels good at the expense of what is good. We over-expect from loved ones – a spouse, a partner, our children, friends, and often enough the church.

No need to put away that beautiful diamond ring! But the density and luster of gold have made it more venerable and the best expression of love since before recorded history. No wonder gold and the five rings have been likened to the first five books of the Bible – the Torah or Pentateuch – where the story of God’s love begins.

God’s true love for us started a long time ago, since the foundation of time. It’s already ours. Instead of looking for it elsewhere, let’s live, and give, grateful for what we already have!

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