There’s More Than One Kind of Love to Celebrate on Valentine’s Day
What is Valentine’s Day? A day of consumerized romance? Singles’ awareness day? A day to remember the saint who lost his head for marrying young couples?
To me it’s always been a day to celebrate love. That is, to give and receive love. To enjoy relationship. I’ve never had a Valentine, but I think I’ve always felt loved on Valentine’s Day.
There are so many different kinds of love to celebrate. As C.S. Lewis writes, love is not just eros, but also philia, storge and agape.
Valentine’s Day With Family, Friends and a Stranger
Growing up, my dad would always get my mom a bouquet of flowers and a card. He didn’t forget his three daughters. We always got a card and/or a rose. He taught my little brother that “We have to take care of the ladies in our lives on Valentine’s Day.”
In college I learned about Galentine’s Day. That is, Valentine’s Day for the gals. One Valentine’s evening as I stepped out of my dorm room I found a group of single ladies in the hallway who were dressed up and excited. They brought pink tablecloths and flowers to the cafeteria and had dinner together.
I spent my college Valentine’s Days with my roommate. One year we had pizza and gelato together downtown and visited a cute thrift shop. Then off to Walmart to gather last-minute supplies to make masks for a Valentine’s Day masquerade salsa on campus. We enjoyed being together the whole day.
Another Valentine’s Day, after college, I met up with a new friend for coffee. A man about our age walked in with bouquets of pink, red and white roses. He asked each woman in the café to choose a rose and wished her a happy Valentine’s Day. When it was our turn, I thanked him and asked him why he was doing this. He recognized that Valentine’s Day could be a sad day for those who have no one to celebrate it with. He wanted to share love with people. I still smile when I think about his kindness and sweet gift to us.
Focusing on God’s Love: A Love Song in Jesus’ Voice
Love can come to us in many ways — through family, friends and even strangers. But all love is a reflection of the God who so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son.
Recently I’ve been listening to a beautiful love song from Jesus to humanity called “For You” by Jon Thurlow. The lyrics start with Jesus remembering when humanity walked away from their relationship in the Garden. Jesus responds:
But I’ve got a dream to make things right again
And I’ll pay the price, even unto death
And then the chorus:
I’m gonna die for you
I’m gonna give it all away
I’m gonna rise for you
Because I want to see you on that day
When I come for my Beloved
God’s love for us is beautiful and captivating — worthy of our attention, meditation and response.
“You are Mine”
In this week of Valentine’s Day I’ve been thinking about Isaiah 43:1:
But now, thus says Adonai—
the One who created you, O Jacob,
the One who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you,
I have called you by name, you are Mine.
It’s as if the Lord is saying, “Be mine.” Or rather, “Know that you are Mine. Rest in this reality.”
The God who created me calls me by name and tells me I am His. The God who is jealous for the love of Israel is jealous for my love.
“Aliya, you are Mine,” he says to me.
Can you hear Him say that to you? Can you believe that this is what He says to you?
If you have surrendered your life to follow Jesus, may you rest in the knowledge that you belong to God. Whatever your relationship status on this day and however many loved ones surround you, here’s the truth: you are fully loved, cherished and embraced by God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. To know you in intimate relationship is the joy that Jesus died for.
We worship a love-sick God. A God who wants us to be “rooted and grounded” in His love so that we can be “filled with all the fullness of God.”
“Be mine,” says our Creator to the world He has given His Son.
“You are mine,” says our Creator to His beloved.