Did you know that January 21 is National Hug Day? I love hugs—both giving and receiving them.
What is any better than a hug from a child or grandchild? My husband and I went to a movie last week with all of our in-town family, and three-year-old Eden sat on my lap for most of the evening. Near the end of the movie, she put her head on my shoulder. And then I felt her arms slide around my neck in a big bear hug. I felt so loved.
Hugs can be used in a variety of ways. There have been many occasions when someone I love has received a scary health diagnosis or has lost a loved one, and I haven’t known what to say. I’ve found that sometimes a tight hug says it all.
I’ve given hugs during times of joy. I remember when a dear author friend won an unexpected award—one that isn’t usually given to authors of children’s books. At the end of the event, we flung our arms around each other in a giant celebration hug that was accompanied with squeals of excitement.
As a mom, I’ve given many hugs during times of fear, often during the middle of the night when one of my sons awoke from a nightmare. Hugs can provide security.
Hugs are often a way to say “thank you” to someone who has blessed you, when mere words don’t seem enough.
Hugs can say, “I’m sorry,” or “I’ve missed you.” They can reflect sadness when you know it will be awhile before you see a loved one again. Watching those hugs from military families as their loved ones leave for deployment always makes me cry.
Hugs can also say, “You’re welcome here.” Macie Bailey was the official hugger at my church. Nobody came through the doors of Trinity Baptist without receiving a hug from that precious elderly lady. It was sometimes comical to see the expressions when Mrs. Macie wrapped her arms around unsuspecting first-time visitors, but they always left with smiles.
And some of the best hugs ever are the ones from heaven when we’re going through difficult times, and then it seems like God just reaches down and wraps His arms of comfort around us.
I’ve been blessed to be the recipient of many hugs, and it makes me sad when I think about folks who don’t get hugs very often. Of course, you don’t ever want to make anyone uncomfortable when dispensing them, but they can provide love, emotional healing, compassion, and joy. And they’re free!
Stop and think about it: How long has it been since your elderly neighbor had a hug? Can you imagine how long it’s been since a homeless person or someone in prison received a hug?
National Hug Day would be a great time for us to be extensions of God’s hands (and His loving arms) to someone who needs to feel love or compassion today. And that’s my challenge for all of us: Who do you know who could use a hug today?