Tomorrow will be February 14th (or as for those of us on the forward side of time, you’re already there), so (let the drums roll) Happy Valentines Day!
And like years past, let love be in the air; let the cupids fly; let the rings be exchanged and roses bear more significance as they accompany gifts and sweet romance. For some, this will be the time to “prove” love. Hearts will beat faster and blood will pump more forcefully than normal. This thing called “love” will bear many definitions.
But, is this what we should be marking such a day with, I mean the Valentines Day? I mean, yes, every year, I personally have had to try to prove to a special someone in my life how much they meant to me. I have had to get cards, make calls, send texts, and, you know, “run around”. I have had to carefully draw out plans on how to make it a day that this person would enjoy and keep at heart. But, this year, in fact, this evening, only a few hours before another “Love Day” comes upon us, I just happen to find myself asking myself a few questions. This time, not something like, “What’s my plan for her happiness this season?” but more like, “Why do I celebrate this day besides other days the way I do? What makes the February 14th love display more unique than love on all other “regular” days?”
(Remember, I’m just thinking)
I have come to realize that I am a love being. I mean, it is my nature to love; not the love that searches for and gives its devotion to a special someone from whom I expect maybe money, sex, marriage, relationship or anything else of the sort (Still speaking from my own perspective yet). No, this love is unconditional. It is not about the worthiness, goodness or qualification of the receiver, but it is about me and the truth that, as normal as the air I breathe, I just can’t do without loving humanity.
“This love is in me because the life of God is in me.”
It is the essence and person of God Himself. And whoever knows God should know this love because it has been the force behind all of His operation from the beginning of time itself. – 1st John 4:8
So, as God’s child, if I don’t know how to love, it means I don’t know God. But, how do I know this? Well, I found out that the love system of this world is by far more distinct from the love system of God: the system every child of God is expected to live by. – 1st John 4
The love system of this world requires an attachment in order to be possible. It means we owe each other something without which we have no reason to share a bond. For instance, a mother and baby’s love exists because of the bond they both share as per the birthing process. The love between family members exists because, “we are family, of the same blood”. The love between lovers exists because, “I think he/she has all the characteristics I need. He/she is my perfect match and they chose me too.”
But this system, like the people in it, has a fault and is as unstable as water. We might have heard if mothers who abandoned their babies for one reason or the other which they thought was the best for their babies. Maybe, because, just happened to be a right thing in a wrong time, in a wrong world or in a wrong hand.
This system is based on reason; there should be a reason why I should show you affection or not.
My point is this: of all the various kinds of love, only the God-kind puts self behind. Throughout scripture, God’s love is presented upon the platform of His giving. The best example is John 3:16. He so loved that He gave. Love is sacrifice without condition or reason. The person on the receiving end doesn’t have to do anything to be worthy of it. It is something that just flows.
For while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8)
Well, you might say, I thought he wanted to talk about Valentine? O yes, I do very much want to. But let me ask, why Mark the day if love is not involved? I had to start from the origin so that you’d understand when I finally hit the nail on the head.
Now, to Saint Valentine’s Day, what’s it about? How did it all begin?
Well, I won’t take you through every detail because I may actually miss something and start seeking answers to the many debates on this issue. But, of the many Valentine’s stories, only this one stands out for me in picking out my point. This is also because it contains answers to the other questionable narrations of the story.
The man, Valentine, was a Christian martyr (note: I said Christian) who was executed for numerous charges especially against his faith. One of these charges was that he helped Roman soldiers in getting married (an act forbidden by the emperor at the time who thought that marriage and family ties would weaken the army he was raising; although this proved abortive and he had to change it). Another charge laid against him was that, at a time when the church family was going through intense persecution from the authorities who were forcing them to accept laws which were a contradiction to their faith e.g. Polygamy, injustices and other vices, etc. this man, amongst many others, stood his ground and was busy reaching out to all especially the less privileged, with the love of Christ. And even when the emperor summoned him and tried to persuade him to accept his pagan ways, Valentine instead, tried to convert the emperor to Christianity. This was like a mockery to him as ruler of the people. In his fury, he got Valentine jailed and awaiting condemnation to death.
But, while this guy was in jail, he still spread love. He healed the daughter of his jailer and because of this the jailer’s entire family were led to Christ. I want to believe that he (Valentine) became quite close with them especially the young lady. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with the one though whom God had healed them? (Not really into that though). But, in his final letter before his execution, it is recorded to have been addressed to her. It is said that he ended the letter with the line: Your Valentine.
I don’t really know the content of the letter, but I know the content of the person’s heart who displayed the life he carried by his conduct.
Marking February 14th is for the purpose of celebrating a love that is spread even in the midst of great tribulations and suffering. It is not the story of Romeo and Julie. It is not even the celebration of man. It is the celebration of faith in a love worth dying for. The love of God that can flow from a person to the fulfillment of others, even to people unknown.
The essence of this date is not for my fiance and I, or for your husband and you alone (note: I said “alone”). This is because you can spread this love to them as well, but not making them the subject of the day. The love we mark is not sex or romance, especially for my the unmarried.
Look around, there are people who just need a word, a few, minutes of your time, some food on their table a drop of water, some clothes on their back, a roof over their heads, a penny, a family or friend, a single touch from you. You don’t need a million dollars to reach a life and/make a difference in a life.
My dear friend, Stephanie, was shocked one day when she gave a nice little child Ten Naira to buy some biscuits. The mother of the child came forth appreciating her like she had give a million to that child. She realized here that what you may call “little” may mean just so much to another.
Allow this to change how you approach each day from here on out, not only Val’s Day. Although, there is no such thing as a special “love day”. Love is what we live everyday like our Lord Jesus did.
But, come to think of it: what was moving the man Valentine? It was the love of Jesus Christ in him. You, also, allow that love to flow in and through you. (Although without Christ in your life, you can’t understand or offer this love).
Through you work this season, let someone know that his/her life is valuable and is still in God’s book.
Who knows, your gospel with an act of kindness may save a soul unto God. Reach out to someone: a neighbour, an orphan, your parent(s), your church/fellowship group, anyone, meet a need. Find fulfilment in making another life worth living.
Partners, understand this and make your relationship stronger on the foundation of a glorious and purposeful living for you both.
February 14th is not Kisses Day, Sex, Romance or Dating Day.
Rather, let’s make it a day to mark a loving living and to encourage all others to do the same. It is a day to add value and not to take it away (You know what I mean).
Make that adjustment today too. Make God proud. And concerning the faith, keep it real.
I hope you were blessed by the reading today?
Have an awesome Valentine’s Day.
©JAMES O. GEORGE