Remember the old song of the 40’s called, “Kiss me once and kiss me twice and kiss me once again, it’s been a long, long time”? I woke up in the middle of the night singing that song that I hadn’t thought of in fifty years. A kiss is a peculiar proposition. Of no use to one, yet absolute bliss to two. The small boy gets it for nothing, the young man has to lie for it, and the old man has to buy it; the baby’s right, the lover’s privilege, and the hypocrite’s mask. To a young girl, faith; to a married woman , hope, and to an old maid, charity.
Hugging and kissing was not a favorite thing as a preschooler. Our cousin Goldie and her husband would visit with us every year. They were from the north and had no children, but bubbled over with ‘love’ when they came to our house. I didn’t have a choice or a chance. Cousin Goldie was a super large person from the waist up. She dipped snuff so the kissing wasn’t all that great and when she hugged me she would pull me into her chest and it was similar to falling into a feather tick. I couldn’t breathe. My beginning days of hugging and kissing left something to be desired.
Things got better as I grew older. I remember as a young teenager practicing on a pillow. I was trying to figure out which way the nose went. We went to young folks parties and played “Spin the Bottle”, “Heavy, heavy, hangs over your head” and a real sure enough kissing game called “Post Office”. With good luck and the right girl we got to “stamp it” with a kiss. We played these games without parental permission or supervision.
Review the history of the last days of Jesus and the account of Matthew when he writes, “Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, ‘Hail, master’, and kissed him. Jesus said unto him, friend, wherefore art thou come?” (Matthew 26:48-50).
We dated girls that enjoyed this ‘wonderful sport’. We would go out with them a few times, and then pass them on with recommendations. The kiss too many a girl has begun a process we know as ‘deception’. “I love you” is the first lie, but a marvelous way to begin the kissing game. Since we generally marry the kind we date, find the man that offers the spiritual traits that Paul mentions in his letter to the Galatians. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Christmas time is coming and the traditional “Mistletoe” will be hanging over the doorway. Look up the background of this weed called “Mistletoe” and discover a few surprising elements. It was an original custom. Quite pagan, I’m afraid. It originated with the Norsemen. Frigga, goddess of love, wished to protect her son, Balder, the sun god. So she drew a pledge from every plant, not to harm him, but she overlooked the lowly mistletoe. Loki, god of evil, made an arrow tip of mistletoe, which was shot by Holder, the blind god of winter.
“Was Balder slain?”
“Yes, but Frigga restored him by the power of her love. Her tears became the berries, and in her joy she kissed all who passed beneath the mistletoe, hung from the rafter, so . . .” So even today it is hung from the door frame and is said to bring luck, and no lady caught beneath can refuse a kiss to her captor. Now you know “The rest of the story”.
The Greeks had four names for “Love”. Eros’ was the Greek Goddess of love. This is the physical side of love, the animal passion in the action of sexual gratification. This root word (eros) is where we get our word erotic. It is born in every natural human being.
Storge’ is the Greek term for family relationship. You love your wife or husband (eros) but you love your children with a storge love. This love between family members (including Cousin Goldie) is a strong binding power which is non-sexual in nature.
Philia is a third word in Greek referring to a deep and abiding love for a friend. Not just an acquaintance but a deep and loyal commitment to someone that may be even closer than a brother.
Agape is the Greek word for God’s love and the kind of love that is mentioned more than 225 times in the New Testament. “I love you” is the best way to express it. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you . . . By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another” (John 14:34-35).
Paul says it best “Salute one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you” (Romans 16:16). God bless America and Cousin Goldie.