Christmas – Love Anew
By Rev. Jenny Ching
December 24, 2023
Accompanied by co-workers, I recently watched “A Man Called Otto.” I find this movie truly inspiring.
The opposite of love is callousness: In people’s eyes, Otto is a very difficult person to deal with. His neighbors and colleagues are scared of him. At his retirement party, nobody is interested in listening to whatever he says. On the contrary, they respond to him with scorn. As a result, Otto, who is already tired of living, decides to take his own life. There are many reasons behind suicides. But if the person concerned feels he is cared for and loved, there is a good chance that his negative thoughts may be adjusted, and he may give up committing suicide. On the contrary, if the person is always met with callousness, his negative thoughts will grow, and the result could be fatal.
I have always thought that the opposite of “love” is “hate”. But the author of God’s Voice Within has a different view. He says the opposite of “love” is “callousness”. If I do not at all care about someone, I tend to see him as transparent. I will not even bother to hate him. “Callousness” is “lack of love to the fullest extent.”
Reason for difficulty: Christmas is marked by love. It reminds us to reflect on whether we have been callous to anyone. The person may be a super difficult character. We really do not want to love him. But he may have a reason for his attitude. In the case of Otto, his difficult character has arisen from the fact that his beloved wife has become half paralyzed through other people’s negligence. He therefore makes adherence to rules his top priority. When his neighbor Marisol knows this, she is much better motivated to care for him. Now we have many difficult people around us. They, too, may have their own story. If we can approach them like this, we will likely be less calculating. We will be better motivated to renew our love for them.
Simple love: The co-workers who watched the movie with me shared that love can be very simple. Sharing delicious food with the person can go a long way to let him or her feel comforted and takes away some pain. Otto’s neighbor Marisol is a good cook. After eating her delicious food, the disgruntled Otto does have his inner strength replenished. And his relationship with his neighbor gradually becomes closer. He then gives up his suicidal thought and continues life’s journey anew.
You may not be a good cook. But during Christmastime, you can still send a heartwarming message to someone depressed. I believe it will mean a lot to them. I am very thankful to the Prayer Watch Group who often prays for me and other pastors. One time when I was weighed down by deadlines, I suddenly received a picture from them with a message saying “Your cheer team always cheers for you!” I smiled, and with the smile came strength with which I could continue to meet up with all the challenges in front of me.
Christmas is marked by love. May God help us remember those who are in need around us. Just a message of care, a telephone call, giving fruit, or having a meal together can help them feel the love of the Lord Jesus who came to earth for them. It can help them experience what the Heavenly Father says in the Book of Isaiah:
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (49:15)