Of course, the media in all of its intrusive forms would make us think Valentine’s Day is for lovers and sweethearts and couples and spouses. We must buy candy and cards. We must spend money. Jewelry and roses are expected. And if you are not currently in a relationship, or your sweetie forgets you, or you don’t get something expensive, well you just must not be loved so much.
NOT! Please don’t believe that lie.
Anything good in this world, any smidgen of love displayed, any beauty, any joy all comes from the Creator of every good and perfect gift.
His love is displayed in the warm sun, the air I breathe, the faces of my children and grandchildren. His love is in my husband’s embrace, in the endurance and strength to care for him, in the kindness of medical professionals and visitors to his hospital room.
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 gifts all day long, gifts of grace like a good cup of coffee, a gorgeous sunrise, my little dog snuggling close, by a phone conversation with my grandson-too-far-away.
But the very most extravagant love God has demonstrated was the gift of His Son to a world that did not receive Him, did not know Him, did not love Him back. The greatness of His love was manifest in that He loved us when we were unlovable, unlovely, unholy. He loved first.
Any good in this world is because He initiated love and lavished that love on the creation, 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 welcoming arms of forgiveness and grace.
Many stories try to tell us the origin of a man named Valentine, how he was kind and loving and so we celebrate him with a day in February. We call him a saint. And then we ask you to spend money to show your love. Sorry, it’s just not about that.
Love is serving, giving of oneself, sacrificing your own wants for someone else.
Love forgives, does not hold grudges, hardly notices when others do you wrong. Love is patient and kind. It’s not jealous and boastful. Love helps you think of others first and act in loving ways no matter what. Love longs for truth and right living. 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.
Because Love does not end. Not when divorce divides. Not when loved ones die. Not when I am wounded by words. Not when I am separated by distance or misunderstandings or unresolved conflict. God’s love keeps giving, keeps restoring, keeps healing, keeps seeking.
Because God is love. And love comes from God. And nothing, no nothing can separate me from His love. And that is worth remembering on Valentine’s Day.