Tuesday, February 14, 2012
What is it that we celebrate on Valentine's Day? Hearts and romance and ....love? The history of the day is hard to come by. Most attribute it to a Saint Valentine who was a heroic and romantic figure way back in the Roman Empire. The Catholic Church recgonizes three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred (History.com). The focus today is not on any saint but seems to be on couples and romance...cards and gifts...and love.
Valentine's Day starts early in our society teaching children the importance of giving and receiving. It is a day for elementry school children to give valentines to their classmates. I remember counting the candy and cards to see if I was as popular as the other kids. Am I liked? Am I worthy? The popular kids got the most leaving the rest feeling somehow less accepted and wanted. Now days, most elementry classes make the kids give equally lest the unpopluar kids get their feelings hurt. Valentines Day seems to skip most kids in middle school (they are too cool for love) and makes its return debut in highschools among young students in love. Then it continues on up through all the age groups.
Young men wonder what to get that special woman in his life. He better make sure she knows how much he loves her today or he might be in big trouble. Jewelry? Chocolate? Flowers? A fancy card? Money spent to prove one's love. Or maybe a long romatic poem for those without financial means. Whatever the gift, at least I know if someone gives me something that I am loved.
Wait a minute. Is love only about getting stuff? If I didn't get anything does that mean no one likes me or cares about me? If I did get something, does that mean that this man or woman truly loves me? What about Agape love? True honest selfless love? The kind where someone is willing to lay down one's life for another? The kind were someone shows his or her love daily in their words, actions and care?
1 Corintians 13:4-8 and vs 13 tells me about true love.
4 Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited.
5 does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs
6 (love) finds no joy in
but rejoices in the truth
7 (it) bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
8 love never ends
13 Now these three remain:
faith, hope and love.
But the greates of these is love.
Valentine's day can be a fun way to focus on a romantic relationship. But don't equate love with stuff received and given . True love can be shown by a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent, child, best friend, and even a coworker through daily living out the verses above. Through building you up with caring and kindness. Through patiences and forgiveness when you mess up. By refraining from harsh words and actions even if deserved. It is undconditional. It's what we yearn for from others, but have trouble giving. Happy Valentine's Day to you. May you give and receive true love today and each day from those people you love in your life.