Today is Valentine’s Day. Stores are busy with people stopping by last minute to get gifts, restaurants are booked up with reservations, floral shops are delivering millions of roses, kids are eating candy they got at school and couples are celebrating their love.
Valentine’s Day began as a day for Christians to celebrate Saint Valentine who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers that were forbidden to marry and also for ministering to Christians who were being persecuted by the Romans. Per Wikidpedia: Legend has it that St. Valentine also healed the daughter of one of the jailers and before he was executed wrote her a letter and signed it “from your Valentine”. In the middle ages, it became a day that couples celebrated their love and gave gifts, sweet treats and cards, known as “valentines”.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Valentine’s Day and the idea that it is only about romance or for couples or candy and cards for kids. For those of us who are single, Valentine’s Day can be a very depressing day. I loved what Mandissa had for her Facebook status today. If you are single, take a read (and if you are not, there is great advice on how to pray for your spouse). Several years ago I chose to stop thinking about myself on Valentine’s Day and to instead focus on doing something for others. That is really what Valentine’s Day is about – sharing and celebrating love.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia
Let’s talk a minute though about the “L” word. Love can become so skewed and is thrown around so lightly now. It is more than a word spoken or written, it is more than a gift given, it is more than physical intimacy. My grandparents shared some great advice with me on their 50th anniversary about what true love is and how to have a successful marriage. Love is caring more about another’s happiness and well being than your own- whether that is your significant other, your children, your family or perfect strangers.
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. – Booker T. Washington
Today my mom and I delivered several gift baskets we made for the women and children currently residing at a local domestic violence shelter and safe house. I think especially considering their circumstances on a day like today, they need to be reminded that there are people out there that love and care for them. Most of all, they need to be reminded of God’s unfailing love.
As followers of Christ, we are called to “love one another”. Whether you are single or married, it can be easy to get caught up in your own little world and become self-absorbed. (I am terribly guilty of this especially since I am single, self employed and very independent!) Take a step back today and really think and pray about what love is and how you can love others more not just on Valentine’s Day but year round. I can promise you that there are hurting, lonely, hopeless people who are desperate for the love and concern of another person and God’s love as well. It takes so little to make a big difference in someone else’s life.
“Jesus spent His last evening before the crucifixion reminding the disciples of essential principles. Kneeling to wash their feet, He gave them a new commandment—to love one another. In fact, over the course of the evening, He would repeat that phrase five times (John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17)….
In Paul’s New Testament letters, he picked up Jesus’ “love one another” refrain and suggested specific ways to obey. He said to accept one another (Rom. 15:7), bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), be subject to one another (Eph. 5:21), and live in peace with one another (1 Thess. 5:13)…
If you were asked what you find most attractive about God, wouldn’t you say it’s His love? His plan is to use His children to meet emotional, material, spiritual, and physical needs everywhere. So God’s love should overflow from us to fill the empty hearts and hands of those in our sphere of influence.” (Read more: In Touch Daily Devotional – Dr. Charles Stanley)