It seems to me that we now have a special 'Day' to commemorate just about every facet of life. In addition to the likes of 'Mothers Day' and 'Fathers Day' we now have 'World Music Day', 'Go Fishing Day' and even 'Sunglasses Day'... though this one is probably celebrated not quite so enthusiastically in Scotland!
THE EXPRESSION OF LOVE
But if there's one Day which has special significance for me it's February 14th – Valentine's Day. No, I'm not an incurable romantic and my days of watching anxiously for the postman are long gone. But it remains a special day. Why? Because I know of its profound potential to fulfil, within countless youthful hearts in particular, the very extremes of human emotion. To my mind, no other day of the year has the capacity to bring such exhilaration and delight, whilst on the other hand, the very depths of distress and despair.
I well remember how my own heart leapt for joy in days gone by. But now that same heart goes out to those whose tender, fragile emotions can be so wounded, not by any wanton act of deliberate cruelty, but by something which can feel just as bad, the crushing disappointment of receiving simply nothing. No tweet, no text, no card, just... nothing.
THE GIFT OF LOVE
Romantic love asks for... hungers for... longs for... a positive response from the one we love. And this is why Valentine's Day can be so important to so many of us. Of course Eros can merge into other forms of love without losing its distinctive quality. And my earlier career in social work left me in no doubt that our yearning to give and receive love is one of life's fundamental human needs.
Yet the greatest yardstick with which to measure the extent to which we're valued, cherished and loved is surely not the flowers and the promises which, despite being meant so sincerely, can be here today and gone tomorrow. No, the essence of true, lasting love is not soppy but sacrificial... much more reliably seen in the image of a cross on a barren hillside, and God in the form of man, giving His life for the likes of us. For it wasn't the nails that held Christ Jesus, the Creator of all love, to that cross, but pure love. After all...
'God is love.' and 'We love because he first loved us.'
1 John 4:16 1 John 4:1
Genuine, lasting love is wanting the best for the other person. And surely what more could our Maker, God Almighty, have done for us than make provision for the greatest need of each of us to be met through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Christ Jesus...
'...God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'
THE REJECTION OF LOVE
He longs for us to enter into an intimate, personal, loving relationship with Him and shows this through the Cross of Calvary, the greatest act of love the world has ever known. Yet rejection of such a wonderful act of sacrificial love carries with it dire consequences...
'...whoever does not believe stands condemned already...'
For if we reach out to Him in prayer, we'll find that He's already reaching out to us...in love.
But no matter what, when Valentine's Day comes round, do have a good one. For if not, we can always console ourselves with a hackneyed, old expression about fish and sea!