Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Merry Christmas Note from Diana

Last week our First Page Would You Read on was brought to you by Hartline's own, Linda Glaz from her published title: Polar Bear Plunge. (White Rose Publishing) I personally enjoyed reading the sweet Holiday Romance and felt it complimented the many Christmas Movies I watched on TV this holiday season.

I am a Romantic at Heart, and love happy endings, yet life doesn't always provide them. Romance novels have soared to new sales heights the past three to four years and Christian Publishing is no different. Many times it is the Romance novel carrying the Publishing houses, helping them make payroll.

I have a hypothesis as to why this phenomenon (according to Webster: a significant fact or event) is taking place. And it might surprise a few of you more studious verse quoting characters that have never read a romance novel and just might not think too highly of their value.

God is Love and He initiated His love to us in providing for us a Saviour. He sent his Own Son down to us by way of a Virgin, to be born in a manger, but brought up in a family. Jesus Christ dwelt among men, ate with them, drank with them. He celebrated at weddings and wept at funerals with those he called His friends. And then He gave the ultimate gift of Himself for us, laid down His life, so that through His death, we might have Life everlasting. Such Love. There is no equal to it.

We were designed in the image of God. He placed in us a huge capacity for love. Agape love is one we seek for, pray for and yield ourselves to the spirit to gain. Agape love demonstrates our friendship with Jesus (John 15:14), and expresses our Christian love toward God (1 John 5:1-3).

Brotherly love, “phileo”, grows amongst us as we fellowship together 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:10)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” —1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)

In a marriage relationship, the dominant fire of eros gradually gives ground to the mature phileo of affection. Phileo becomes the cement that bonds and holds families together over the long haul.

When the world's economy goes topsy turvy, and the stress of daily life pressures us, we turn to a light-hearted read as an escape. With a Christian romance novel, we can read of people much like us, grappling with daily life situations and resolving their problems in a loving exemplary way. I have read of those who walked away from God for a season, turning back to him after reading a light 'inspirational' romance. There have been others that have sought out a friend or a church and came to Christ because of the 'provoking' of God conscientiousness awakening from their reading.

During this season, may we extend our love to others as Christ did to us. We were unlovely but He saw worth in us, made the ultimate sacrifice, and desires to 'fellowship' with us. Share a Christian Romance novel with someone you love that is searching. It just might reveal to them that God loves them and light their path to salvation.

Merry Christmas. May you find all you seek in the person of Jesus Christ. God's son, through whom He initiated His Great Love toward us.


Timothy Fish said...

Here I was ready to respond to this post and then you go and change it on me.

I think it is too simplistic to say that Romances are popular because God is love. The attraction portrayed in romance novels is one piece of the puzzle, but Romances have little to say about the love the Bible talks most about. Erotic love has its place, but if husbands are to love their wives in the way God has commanded, they’d better love her even when they don’t feel desire for her. Romances tend to sidestep that topic and spend their time with the characters trying to figure out if they really love each other.

Timothy Fish said...

And again you change it.

In reading the rest of the post, I would like to point out that Romans 13:10 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 do not fit with what you are saying. Neither of these passages are referring to phileo but rather to agape. Eros is good in a marriage, but no marriage can survive on that alone. To phileo one’s spouse is also a good thing in marriage, but the simple fact is that there are times in every marriage when the two people involved don’t like each other very much. But agape is not optional (at least on the part of the husband), it is commanded. For women it is phobeo that is used, but I wonder just how popular Romance novels would be if they attempted to teach women to fear their husbands.

Jeanette Levellie said...

I SO agree with you, Diana. At the heart of every person is a desire to love and be loved. God's perfect love fills that desire, and then overflows our hearts to love others.

You could not have said it more beautifully, so I'll not add to your flawless message.

Now I know why I love romance novels and movies!

Much love,

Lydia Harris said...

To be loved is a universal need. I'm grateful for God's perfect love. And He gives us the ability to love others. It's part of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy peace).

I sent a fiction book as a gift to my Jewish pen pal. It's not the first time I've sent her a Christian fiction book as a gift.

Wishing you love, joy and peace at Christmas and in the New Year.

Darin said...

Well spoken. Christmas blessings to you!

Kathryn Elliott said...

Merry Christmas!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Forgot to say: I won Linda's book on a blog contest, and I am so excited! She's a great writer and I can tell from her posts, a lovely person.

Linda Glaz said...

Ahh, but I learned a lot from the comments that I know will help me in the future. Can't believe that laundry list of ER tragedies. Errgh, and I hate when a writer does that. Thanks all for the input!

Sarah Thomas said...

Thanks for the lovely Christmas thoughts! While there's a lot to being a Christian, I do think love is at the core of it all. I work for a Christian children's ministry and do a good bit of speaking. I often begin with the love verses from I Corinthians. Without love (and specifically the love of Christ), what we do for kids would be meaningless. And the delightful thing about Christian romance is that you get lots of love without all the, ahem, blushing bits.

verna Bowman said...

Thank you, Diana . . . for this inspiring "love note" . .

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Thank you Diana! You are always a source of inspiration.

Merry CHRISTmas my friend!

Hey...And Sunday is coming :-)