Culture will try to tell us what to think and how to act. The media, in all its various venues, formulates ideas they want us to accept. If they say it often enough, we tend to believe it is true, especially if it is on the internet.
How does that relate to Valentine’s Day?
We are told the day is for lovers and sweethearts, couples and spouses. We must buy things, like candy and cards. Spend money on jewelry and flowers. If you are not currently in a relationship, or your sweetie forgets you, or you don’t get something costly, well you just must not be loved.
Please, don’t believe that lie.
His love is displayed in the warm sun, the air I breathe, the faces of my children and grandchildren. His love is in my Sweet William’s embrace, in the smile of a friend, and in the strength to take care of another.
God’s love is shown by strangers who let me in the line of traffic, by the customer service person who helps me resolve a problem, by my neighbor telling me she is just a phone call away.
God shows His love for me by showering me with grace all day long, gifts like a good cup of coffee, a gorgeous sunrise, finding our Maisie who was lost, and a phone conversation that encourages.
But the very most extravagant love God ever demonstrated was the life of His Son to a world that did not recognize Him, did not welcome Him, did not love Him back. The greatness of His love was manifest in this fact: He loved us when we were unlovable, unfaithful, unholy. He loved first.
Any good in this world is because He gave love. He lavished it on the ones made in His likeness, the very ones who turn their back on Him and use His name to curse. The ones who don’t believe. The ones who choose their own determined way instead of running to His beckoning arms of forgiveness and mercy.
Stories and legends abound about the man named Valentine, how he was kind and loving, and so we celebrate him with a special day. We call him a saint. We are enticed to spend money in his honor. Sorry, it’s just not about that.
Love is serving, giving of oneself, sacrificing our own wants for someone else.
Love forgives and doesn’t hold grudges. Love does not get offended easily. Love is patient and kind, not jealous or prideful. Love causes us to consider another first and act in loving ways, no matter what. Love longs for truth and doing the right thing. Love bears up under the hardest of circumstances, continues to believe God is good, and trusts Him for power to keep on going in the grace that strengthens.
Love does not end. Not when divorce divides. Not when loved ones die. Not when words wound. Not when distance or misunderstanding or unresolved conflict separates. Love keeps giving, keeps restoring, keeps healing, keeps seeking.
Because God is love. And love comes from God. And nothing, absolutely nothing can separate me from His love.
This love is worth remembering and celebrating on a day in February and every other day of the year.
Revised and reposted from February 2015