The time has come for overpriced assortments of candy and flowers, last-minute dinner reservations, and highly sugared classroom parties.
Saturday is Valentine's Day. While some folks are quick to criticize good ol' V-Day for being utterly commercialized, I'm happy to admit that I'm still a fan. As a child, my appreciation for the day generally revolved around the prospect of gleaning the attention (and candy grams) of Andrew (in kindergarten), Jess (in first grade), Eric (in fifth grade), and the rest of my elementary school crushes.
As an adult, my focus has shifted. Now I like celebrating Valentine's Day for the same reason that I like officiating weddings: Love gets center stage! In a world that is desperate for a true, deepened understanding of love, every February a whole day gets devoted to the concept. Bonus: We get to discern for ourselves where we want to direct the spotlight of our Valentine's attention.
Feb. 14 doesn't have to be all about manufacturing visions of a super adoring spouse or significant other. It doesn't have to be about overly hyped expectations or overly priced date nights. Instead, Valentine's Day can just as easily be a chance to celebrate love in all its forms: love between family, friends, colleagues, and fellow church members. Most especially, why not approach Valentine's Day as the perfect opportunity to celebrate the love of God?
I recognize that God's love is not the traditional focus of Valentine's Day. But maybe it should be, because God's love provides the roots and the life force of every other form of love we'll ever experience.
So I'm here to proclaim: whether you have a sweetie or not, whether you have a secret admirer or not, whether your spouse remembers to get you a card or not: Valentine's Day is still for you. Because you're loved. You are incredibly, eternally, unequivocally loved by your Creator. So let's celebrate!
I studied British literature in college and read more sonnets and love poems than I could ever hope to retain. There are many brilliant writers, filmmakers, and artists who have found a multitude of ways to describe the complexities of love.
The Holy Spirit also inspired some great love material in the pages of Scripture. Here are a few of my favorite love passages in the Bible written specifically about the love of God.
• Lamentations 3:22-23: "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
God's love is permanent and never-ceasing. Each new day is a fresh chance to be reminded of the permanence of our Creator's love.
• John 3:16-17: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
Perhaps the most beloved verses of the Bible! God desired that the whole world might be saved and brought to a new understanding of love through Jesus. Thank you, Lord, for loving the us so much.
• 1 John 4:8-12 (selected portions): "For God is love. God's love was revealed to us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us...if we love one another, God lives in us."
These verses get right at the heart of many of our deepest faith questions. Who is God? Where is God? What does God think/feel/say/do? The verse states, "God is love." God is love. And God loved and chose us. What a sacred gift!
May your week and your Valentine's Day be full of authentic, deeply rooted love!