Today is Valentine’s Day.
My last date on Valentine’s Day was in fifth grade, when my dad took me out for breakfast before school and gave me a heart shaped balloon with a teddy bear and the words “I love you” on it. I still have that balloon.
Yes, it’s a made up holiday. Yes, it’s a chance to make money. Yes, I have rarely spent this day as much of our country does. But I don’t mind.
See…it’s a day to think on love. And we can rail against it, we can be bitter, we can try to ignore it altogether, or we can use this day, a rare and fleeting moment when the hearts of the world, and the vulnerability of our own, are frantically searching for it, to redefine love. To rightly define it. Because you know what? Chances are good that at some point today, maybe even with every steeled intention not to, we thought of love. The only question is whose definition dominated those thoughts.
Tonight I sat at a conference which just happened to begin on Valentine’s Day, and which had nothing to do with love. But really, it had everything to do with it, because it had everything to do with Christ. And you cannot sing or speak or write or reflect or illustrate Christ without defining love.
The voices of the world will scream a hundred definitions of love at us, which only go to show it has no confidence of the truth being in any of them, merely hoping that in enough noise and distraction it will provide something that satiates and dulls the ache of looking. But we were not made to be merely satiated, meaninglessly stuffed as to excess. We were made for wholeness. And wholeness comes through rightly knowing (and believing) a rightly-defined love.
And so words were spoken and words were sung, and in their simplicity the Lord gently whispered to my heart the reminder of the one true definition of love, in its two greatest miracles:
First, that…“God created man in His own image;
in the image of God He created him,
male and female He created them.”
and then…And when I think, that God His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin!
Ordinary, familiar words, but this was a day to think on love. And because I was thinking on love, I could not NOT hear it. Sometimes the clearest whispers of rightly defined love to my heart come in the moments of the world’s loudest declarations otherwise; truth made clear by contrast.
That is reason enough to make me beyond thankful for this day.