The first holiday we aim to celebrate with loved ones is Valentine's Day. That is, after Thanksgiving - where we celebrated our blessings with friends and family, as much as we were able during the pandemic; Christmas - where many of us even celebrated the birth of our Lord and Savior with co-workers; and New Year’s Day - where we dedicated to celebrate with anyone willing to listen a glorious newness in ourselves.
Valentine's Day is where our relationship with a particular loved one is celebrated. In pondering this, I asked myself, “What do I know about love? What is true love, and how will I celebrate it?”
Because of the pandemic, for many of us, relationships have become more strained. We are either spending too much time with our significant others, if we are married, or not able to spend enough time together, if we are not married. The ways we traditionally celebrate our relationships during this special day have become so limited, that it can cause disappointments in how we show our love.
But God doesn’t look to the world in defining and expressing his love. He is, instead the embodiment of love, which he shared with us through the sacrifice of his son. We all know how Jesus showed his love by dying on the cross so that we, the body of Christ, will live eternally with him in his kingdom. That love is unconditional and surpasses all understanding.
With Jesus choosing to die for our sins so we can be with him and the Father in eternity, he enacted what John the Apostle exclaimed, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
As children of God, we can relish in his love, knowing he will never leave us or forsake us. He has proved his love to us over and over again, through his own sacrificial choice, and through the daily miracles he performs in our lives. Because of this, we have ownership of his love, which comes with true joy, as paraphrased in John 15:11: “As the Lord’s joy is in us, our joy is complete.”
Having ownership of God’s love and his joy, we can be open to understanding what love is in the world, how we can demonstrate it and celebrate it. Consider Zephaniah 3:17:
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
Such strong and wonderful words that we can use to demonstrate love in our relationships, romantic or otherwise, even when we have moments of dissatisfaction. We can call on Jesus’s joy inside of us, knowing that we are children of God. We can be determined to delight in our relationships, to not rebuke our loved ones, but rejoice over them with a song in our heart.
And in regard to Valentine’s Day, how loved would you feel if your significant other celebrated by proclaiming words of delight to you, refrained from rebukes and criticisms and rejoiced over you with singing? How loved would your significant other feel if you did the same for him?