Every year, at Christmastime, my husband has to endure my private tradition of watching Love, Actually.1 The movie weaves together several stories in an entirely predictable, mushy way. But each time I watch it I am touched by a different part of the story. I try to get my husband excited about this, but he is not having it! I know this makes me a bit sappy, but I just don’t get how someone can’t be drawn in by this display of love, tenderness and warmth.
Probably my favorite thing about the movie is the way that it demonstrates all different kinds of love: familial love, grieving love, romantic love, unrequited love, sacrificial love, friendship love, new love and old love. It shows the ways we all connect in our human experience, and how love is all around us, if we are willing to look for it.
One of my favorite lines is in the introduction, when a voiceover says: “It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there—fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends.” Sometimes it takes a minute to notice it. Not just because life is busy, but also because it often appears ugly.
It’s easy to feel calloused, to think of humanity as a whole as hardened and cruel. But that’s simply not true. Love, in the form of kindness, friendship, compassion, affection, service, and sacrifice, is all around us. It seeps through the cracks of indifference, hatred, loneliness, prejudice, pain, and connects us.
The Bible says “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”2 Our ability to love is God’s imprint on each of our hearts, even for those who do not call themselves followers of Jesus. All the different ways humans are capable of loving are manifestations of our Creator. In many ways, I think that our response to love is a response to God.
Maybe you aren’t into sappy movies, but I hope you take a minute to notice the love around you, and I hope it makes you happy.
1. Richard Curtis. Universal Pictures, 2003.
2. 1 John 4:7