There's much more to it than just chocolate and flowers.
1 John 4:7-8
Beloved, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Valentine’s Day is a time of great danger; a fact that is often overlooked. The advertising propaganda and cultural assumptions around this holiday can lead us astray, tempting — or should we say tormenting? — some to self-loathing, self-harm, and even self-destruction. The short and simple solution is: Let Go of All That.
Easier said than done, of course.
We’re surrounded by intimations of intimacy, as though this day is different from any other; as if on this day our hearts should be particularly tender, as if on this day it is necessary — mandatory — that we be connected emotionally with a particular “significant other.” Tosh and piffle.
Love is not conditional on a season or a day or a card or candy. Love doesn’t just pop up like a pimple; it is constant and chronic, persistent and enduring. Love is more than passion — although that can be a contributing factor, particularly in the early days; it is more than affection — although that is an important aspect.
Love wants the best for the beloved; it doesn’t take advantage, but is just and fair, kind, concerned, and caring. If it cannot literally move mountains, it simply ignores them, overcoming distance, barriers, and prejudices.
Love makes itself known in many places, in many relationships. Love is in the friendships that sustain and support us; in the teachers who encourage us, in the children who care for us. Love is in the tenderness and concern between a parent and child — in fact, it was very possibly this deep and unconditional love that gave rise to the notion of God as “our Father:” the One who provides for and protects His children, the Home into which we will always be welcomed.
Love doesn’t need a cultural cue to be ignited. It is: a refuge in the storm, strength in times of need; a very present help in all times and in all places. Love blesses and sustains us, even when the loved one is no longer physically present.
Love is eternal. Love never dies.
When love is made manifest in human form within our earthly lives, we certainly should celebrate with champagne, chocolate, flowers, dinner at a fine restaurant — or a new screen door, a dozen cookies, a stroll in the park, or a pair of cozy slippers. Love is not constrained by what we are told is “romantic.”
Sometimes, love is simply taking comfort in each others’ presence. For love, that is enough.
“Love” — real love — is so magical, so magnificent, so special… one might say that it is otherworldly: etherial, celestial, holy. And so it is. God’s signature, impressed on our hearts.
Love comes to us as dew in the morning; out of the blue, with no warning. It brings us hints of the divine, intimations of eternity: even tiny droplets awaken our souls to hope, to a yearning — a hint of understanding: “If we can love this much; how much more so can God!” How much more so are we loved!
There is no getting around it: love is proof that there is a God. It is here — sometimes heard in symphonies and hymns and birdsongs; felt in soft breezes and fierce thunderstorms, in purring kittens and in gentle embraces; seen in the sunrise and in the enveloping darkness of night; tasted and seen and felt …
You have known it, it is with us: God is here and truly with us: you are loved — even when you have forgotten. You are loved, deeply, truly, fully — beyond all imagining. God is with us. God loves us. Hallelujah. What a glorious day this is! What a glorious day every day is. Let’s celebrate! (Chocolate optional. 😉)
May the love of the Eternal comfort and sustain you always,
"The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love."
~ Julian of Norwich