18 Feb -Your’e so warm!

feel-the-hugs

Both of our sons when they were little, and occasionally even now will snuggle up close to me and say “mum you’re so warm”. I don’t think they are talking about my body temperature, but about how I make them feel. They’re saying they feel warm and loved when they are around me, which makes me realise I really do need to make sure I stop long enough in my day to allow them to feel that “warmth as often as possible ”.

Undoubtedly there are people in the world who don’t emanate those feelings of warmth, and instead could be called cold or cold hearted. Perhaps they have been hurt and damaged through their life and just need someone to love them. A bit like the little girl Lucy in the movie Santa Claus 3. The villain in the movie is Jack Frost, who had become cold, bitter and power hungry. He felt everyone had overlooked or rejected him, and as a result he had become untrustworthy and conniving. But Lucy was warm hearted and loving, and melted Jack Frost’s cold heart with one of her warm hugs, causing him to suddenly become all soft and loving on the inside.

If there is one thing that the world needs more of, its “warm hugs”. Whether that “hug” is a literal physical hug, or in the form of kind words, giving generously with our time, skills and belongings, or just smiling at people as you speak to them, or pass by them on the street. We all need to be the recipient of warm hugs, and also givers of them.

Neuroscience has discovered that when, as humans we get emotionally distressed our bodies react to manage the increased energy. These physical reactions bring discomfort, and add to our distress and pain. Yet God has given us an effective solution. The answer is touch. Hugs and other non-sexual touch intervene at the physical level to help the brain and body calm down from overwhelming states of anxiety, panic and stress.

Which means that life isn’t meant to be lived devoid of loving exchanges and connections. None of us are wired or created that way. That’s because God is loving, warm, kind, and compassionate and we are made in His image and likeness. He knows we need encouragement, and to know we are loved and cared for, particularly in difficult situations. He especially gives great warm hugs. It’s just we can sometimes miss them. His warm hugs are the sunshine warming our face first thing in the morning, or the spectacle of the night sky on a cloudless night. They are experienced in the stillness, as His gentle loving presence brings peace and calm to our hearts and minds. His hugs are found in the smells and sights of springtime, or freshly mown grass. They are hidden in the embrace of a little child, a loved one; or an encouraging pat on the back, or supportive out reached hand.

Plus God’s word is full of warm hugs from heaven, such as when we read, “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)

Give thanks to the LORD for He is good, His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present not the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

“See what great love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a)

Most of us don’t ever reach our daily hug quota, and that’s no doubt for a variety of reasons. Many people don’t trust others because of abuse or the threat of it. We shy away, are distrustful, and retreat from physical contact. But God wants us firstly to know and recognise His hugs, and also be then able to give and receive them from those around us. If we are careful and respectful of others, we can overcome these fears and hesitancy to reach out with an encouraging hand, or hug.

The world really needs its cold heart melted, and it starts with us learning to recognise God’s loving hand upon our life. Today look around at you at all that He has created and given you, and know that He loves you. Be still and ask Him to come and fill you heart with His love. If you quiet your mind and heart and focus upon Jesus and the things of heaven, you will soon discover His hugs. Then as you have received, go out and spread some much-needed warmth around.

Prayer: Lord help me to recognise your warm hugs, and to be able to receive them. Heal any hurts I may have, and please help to know where and who is a safe space for me. Then show me where I can encourage, comfort and give support and a warm hug to someone else today. In Jesus Name Amen.

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