February 1, 2023
January 31, 2023
It is everywhere I look!!! Candy! Flowers! Cards! Pink and purple everything. The Christmas and New Year’s merchandise is not gone from the clearance tables, before the next marketing opportunity presents itself. Valentines’ Day.
Sometimes the pressure to celebrate the holidays seems relentless, even when I know that most of it is only motivated by a profit motive. I was gratified to get an email from Etsy (the online platform for small vendors of crafts) asking if I wanted to “opt out” of getting emails about Valentine’s Day. I thought that was thoughtful. And, I can think of lots of situations where celebrating Valentine’s Day could be either painful or hurtful. So, having an “opt out” button seems to be a good way to acknowledge those who have lost a loved one, or just ended a significant relationship. But I can’t promise you the same consideration from other retailers.
But, I have what I think is a far better option. Scripture says, “We love because God first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this; those who love God must love their rothers and sisters also.” 1 John 4:19-21
No matter our personal relationship status, every one of us is loved by God – totally, unconditionally, and eternally. Scripture doesn’t make any exceptions of which I am aware. We are invited to love God in return, but not forced to do so. But the way we show our love for God is to love each other (Yes – even the aggravating and less than worthy ones of us). So – if Valentine’s Day is hard – or even if it is not – the focus for us is on loving God and others. Instead of focusing on what we do not have, we are invited by God to focus on what we have received.
Love is an action word. God’s love flows (moves) into our hearts and out onto those around. So, I say we proclaim Valentine’s Day as Love In Action Day. Pick something to do that will express love in a concrete form. And, I proclaim (as if I can!) that you get extra credit if it doesn’t involve spending any money! What about an unanticipated Thank You Note? What about an intentional kindness for a stranger or an anonymous kindness for a family/friend. Make it something that cannot be repaid or attributed.
God so loved the world . . . . . . that God has sent us in the name of Jesus, who knew a thing or two about real love. Hint – it has really nothing to do with chocolate (rats!).
Hope to see you in worship.