Good morning my brothers and sisters in Christ. As we prepare to enter into a new year, I admonish each of us to ask this question of ourselves as we journey through 2022: “What small gesture will we offer those we love that will help them grow into the people God calls them to be?”
Secondly, join Genesis Covenant Church on Friday night, New Year’s Eve, for our Watch Night Service at 10:45 p.m. via ZOOM. Use the Sunday morning worship link.
When I woke up this morning, I realized that Christmas Day had passed and gone. There was something missing this year and last year that caused me to feel a void more than ever. Some of the small things we have been accustomed to doing will no longer be permissible or acceptable due to the pandemic. I simply missed hugging on people that I love. I can remember during worship services in church, approximately three minutes were devoted to just innocently hugging and innocently kissing people that we were glad to see on Sunday mornings. For some people it was the only hug or touch they would receive from someone who loved them or at least acted like they loved them. That time of hugging was also a time for persons in the congregation to go to persons and reconcile their differences, if there were any. There was one lady in the congregation that would always come and give me a bear hug. She would squeeze me tightly and almost pick me off the floor. I just loved being elevated off the floor by someone who was genuine in showing her Christian affection. As I said in an earlier message, there are some people who you know love you, and they show it with their hugs. Even now, during the pandemic, when I see her, she is ready to grab me and squeeze me, but I have to remind her, there is a virus out there. Think about the people you would just love to hug as a sign that you miss them, but both sides understand the importance of practicing social distancing. I am sure there is an emoji on your cell phone of two people hugging, if so, send it to the person you love and miss for now.
I didn’t realize how much I miss hugging people until one of our daughters visited us and we were reluctant to give her a big old, I love you hug. A hug is a form of endearment in which two or more people put their arms around one another and hold each other. When persons are going through difficult times, they may need someone just to hold them as a sign of comfort and encouragement.
You may have given your children toys, games, computers, cell phones, iPads, etc. for Christmas, but believe me the greatest gift you could have given them on Christmas morning was a hug and a statement saying, “I love you.” They will eventually outgrow the material gifts and abandon them, but the hug will be remembered forever.
Hugs are not received well by everyone; therefore, we must respect and honor the wishes of those who don’t care to be hugged. There was an elderly lady in the church who would say to me, “I dread that hugging and kissy time in church. However, after several Sundays of gently hugging her, she said, “This hugging is not so bad after all.”
We look forward to the day when grandparents can hug grandchildren again. We look forward to the day when hugging will become the norm again.
In the early church, Christians would kiss one another when greeting each other. Church should be a place where genuine love is exhibited and practiced. There are lonely people in church who need a hug. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12: 9-13
Titus 1:15 says, “To the pure, all things a pure which means we should know ourselves.” If our minds are impure, then our hugs may be impure. There is nothing wrong with the hug, for it is the heart and mind of the hugger that may make the hug become uncomfortable. We have not forgotten the ramifications of the #MeTOO movement that caused people in the workplace to become a little reluctant to hug one another. Even so, the hugs are here to stay.
Since we are not able to hug one another in person, may I suggest we take both of our arms and place them over our chest and simply say to another person, “This hug that I am making especially for you feels so good.
Although we are unable to embrace one another physically during this time of a pandemic, may we embrace Jesus as Savior of the world like never before.
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor