“True Love and Brotherhood”? What’s That?

December 21st, 2020 by Sara Buffington

Canva Design DAEQhZusOJo

Have you heard of the “Get Along Shirt”?  Faced with bickering siblings, you can stuff your two kids into a man’s extra large T-shirt, so they are forced to be together and work it out.  

I have never tried this in my home, but when my two older ones were younger, I used to make them give each other a hug after an argument.  Then they had to look into each other’s eyes and say one nice thing about the other person.  Sounds great, right?  

The reality was that they hugged each other in the most reluctant, insincere hug they could conjure.  Then, when told to say something nice, their answers would include a monotone, deadpan, “You have nice hair.” 

Then I would interrupt--”Say something nice about who they are on the inside!”  I would get an equally lackluster, “Fine. You can be nice sometimes.”  I would sigh in frustration and that would be that.  I’d contemplate purchasing the “Get Along Shirt.”

The Impossible Dream?

What was I hoping would happen?  I think it was something like the line from the Christmas carol, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”:

“And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace”

This never seemed to happen, at least not after an argument.  Was this an impossible dream?  Was it a reasonable expectation for a couple of preschoolers?  I mean, could I do it?  Could you?

A Tall Order

In the Christmas carol, the author is telling all Christians to embrace one another in true love and brotherhood.  This seems like a tall order.  Honestly, Christians are very different because people are different.  

We come from different backgrounds.

We look different.

We have different traditions.

We have different political beliefs.

We may even have different priorities.

Sometimes I meet a person (yes, even at church), and I think, “I have nothing in common with you. Zip. Zero.”  

And yet.

And yet we are all family.  Literally, we are family with God our Father and Christ our Brother.  We have all been adopted into God’s family, this motley bunch of unruly kids. 

Bound Together

His love flows into our hearts and that love flows out to one another, binding us together with, you guessed it, true love and brotherhood.

God’s love is true love because it’s from him.  It is unending.  It is not contingent on good behavior.  It is not transactional.  

Romans 5:5 says, “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

A Way Forward

This Christmas, if you are having a “negative moment” with someone in your family, your friend circle, your community of faith, etc., think about the powerful, true love that God is pouring into your heart. 

It’s way more powerful than a “Get Along Shirt.” 

That love was made visible and personal in a tiny baby in a manger on Christmas night two thousand years ago.

And thanks to the Holy Spirit, that love can be personal and visible in you, too.

Canva Design DAEQhZxd3fg



What Lies Ahead?
December 3, 2020 In Advent, Christmas, Articles
What Do You Do When You Hear a Knock?
December 7, 2020 In Advent, Christmas, Articles
Joy Rises Out of Assurance
December 17, 2020 In Advent, Christmas, Articles

About this author:

Sara Buffington

Sara Buffington

In April 2013 Sara started leading worship at New Covenant, and she considers it a joy and a privilege. She lives with her husband Peter, their three children, and Poppy the dog.

Subscribe To Our Blog

Recent Posts


see all