by Annette Bridges. ©2008. All rights reserved.

Unlike my daughter, I’ve not read Stephenie Meyer’s book series — yet. But I was probably as excited as she was to see the first movie in the saga. And now I look forward to reading the books. I don’t think I can wait to see the next three movies to know the rest of the story.

I can understand how Meyer’s books have become a cultural phenomenon. Forget the intrigue of an unorthodox love story between a mortal and a vampire. My husband wasn’t able to get beyond that image and didn’t go with my daughter and me to see the movie.

The concept of a forbidden love affair between two people worlds apart has been around for centuries. My daughter says we can thank Shakespeare for that.

But perhaps the idea of wanting what you can’t have is natural to human nature. Even a toddler is passionate with that desire.

I’m not about to give away any details from the story. You’ll have to read the books or go see the movie yourself — if you are, like me before today, one of the few left in the world who doesn’t know the story. But my daughter said something after the movie that possibly sums up the extreme appeal of Meyer’s story. She said, “We all want to be loved that much.”

I can concur that by Twilight’s end, I had an overwhelming feeling of the love that had just been portrayed — a love that protects without regard for one’s own safety. A love that cherishes every moment shared with the object of one’s affections. A love that wants what is best for another even if it means sacrificing one’s own happiness.

In spite of the conflict the story begins to unfurl, this movie ended with my sigh as I basked in the deep love shown by someone who loves another more than self. Interestingly enough, I found myself contented and satisfied by pondering the purity of such love.

And why not?

Who doesn’t want to be loved by someone who gives love without conditions?

I feel loved in this way by my husband. But after watching Edward’s love for Bella, I’m compelled to ask myself if I show my husband the depth of my love for him every day of our life together.

With the holiday season upon us, I can’t help but also think about Jesus’ teachings on love. He taught us to love others regardless of how they treat us — even our enemies. He said, “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior. Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!” (Luke 6:31)

A good guideline for any and all types of relationships!

In other words, if we want to be loved unconditionally, we must give our love unconditionally.

As I anticipate the next movie in this love story, I’ll continue to think about the love Edward feels for Bella. I’ll put Meyer’s books at the top of my Christmas wish list. And I’ll do my best to show my husband how unconditionally and passionately I love him.