I was surprised this morning as I looked at my church day planner because Valentine’s Day is marked. Despite getting a make-over when Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire in 313 AD, it is cultural celebration of love. It was originally called Lupercalia, meant for worship of a pagan fertility goddess. Today it idealizes what we all want – true love – but coats it in the trappings of the world.
Personally speaking, for a long time I viewed this day as a way retailers took the sting out of post-Christmas returns. It was also a painful reminder of what I so desperately wanted but didn’t have. Even after I was married, I have found celebrating Valentine’s Day made me feel more insecure. I was stacking the deck against my relationship because my definition of love was skewed.
Even as a professing Christian, I bought into the idea that Valentine’s Day is all about what you get – whether in chocolates, cards, dinners or flowers. When I started to study what real love looks like – perfected in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection – I found the fulfillment I needed. And I discovered there is not just one single day about love. It is a daily mindset – to be in love with Christ and working to show His Love to others.
When we start our days in relationship with Christ, we receive more than we can give out. Luke 6:38 demonstrates the abundance God provides that enables us to give to others what we could not before. Though not a specific Church holiday, we can use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to demonstrate what love really looks like to others. We can use it as a springboard to take another step closer to the abundance we have in Christ.
The goal is not to get points in the love category, but show others how Jesus loves them by putting them first. While we shouldn’t let people walk all over us, we should seek the best for them. The Apostle Paul makes a good case for what that looks like in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: patient, kind, humble, honoring, peaceful, forgiving, truthful, protective, trusting, hopeful and persevering love.
It could be a grand gesture, or maybe something as small as kind word. It could be forgiving someone who hurt you, or taking action on that service project you’ve been putting off. Or it could be just telling someone how much you enjoy their company. This Valentine’s Day, don’t fall into the world’s trap of love, but seek what Paul calls “the most excellent way.” Look for an opportunity to show real love to someone in your life and you will witness what a life lived in love is all about!