Valentine’s Day. Some people hate it, and some people love it. And for some reason this year (in my experience) it kinda feels like there are more people in the hate-it camp than the non-hate-it-camp. “Oh gosh, I hate Valentine’s Day.” “Valentine’s Day? I don’t even get it. Such a greeting-card-company-concocted holiday. Puh.LEEZE.”
Ok ok. I can understand why some people feel this way. “AMERICA IS JUST TELLING ME I NEED A BOYFRIEND!!!” “AMERICA IS JUST TELLING ME I NEED TO DO ROMANTIC THINGS FOR MY WIFE TO PROVE THAT I LOVE HER!!!” Mmmk. Is it out of our systems now? Because I am about to tell you how BOMB FRICKIN KICK-A this holiday truly is.
To be historically “accurate” (according to the all-knowing source of Wikipedia, of course), we don’t actually know anything for SURE about St. Valentine besides his name. (We like to think he was a dude who married people in secret when Roman Emperor Claudius II ordered that young men stay single.) According to NPR, the saint’s Day didn’t become a holiday for love until Shakespeare and Chaucer romanticized it in the middle ages through their poetic works. The day gained popularity in Britain and Europe and, YES, GREETING CARD COMPANIES HAD A FIELD DAY.
REGARDLESS of how it began or who invented it or WHO is milking it for all its worth now, I for one am glad we have a day devoted to love.
I’m not getting ready to tell you that I have the perfect husband. Or the perfect love. Or the perfect marriage. OR that my Valentine’s Day is filled with flowers and love notes and presents and grand gestures and sweet candies. I don’t love Valentine’s Day because of what I have or what I hope to get. I love it for what it’s for. And I think it’s for a whole lot more than a whole lot of people give it credit.
Ever since I was a little girl, Valentine’s Day has been a unique opportunity to celebrate and ponder on the amazing thing that is love. Romance is a lovely and special thing, but love itself is far more amazing. I like the way Paul puts it (in his first letter to the Corinthians):
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing… faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Perfect love holds all things together. And although we as humans are not able to love perfectly on our own, God has given us the capacity to love one another as He loves us. Perfectly.
His love is perfectly manifested to us through the provision of his Son, who entered our world to die for us because we cannot love like this on our own. When Jesus died, God made us live, reconciling us to Himself, that we might be made perfect in Him. THIS IS WHY WE LOVE. THIS is why love is so amazing. THIS, my friends, is why LOVE needs a DAY all to itself.
Because of this love, I love my husband. I love my friends. I love my mom and dad and sister, and the rest of my family. What’s so bad about a day that devotes us to reminding one another of this love?
Some people say that Valentine’s Day is about getting a boyfriend. Those same people might tell you that if you haven’t got a date or a ring or a bouquet of flowers on Valentine’s Day, it’s proof that no one loves you. Here’s the thing about these people: THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS. And here’s another secret: sometimes these “people” are not people at all. Sometimes they’re voices in your head that do not come from the One who knows what love is.
Take hold of this day. It’s a day of love. REAL love. Remind yourself that YOU are loved. LOVE someone because of the love you’ve been shown. You don’t have to bake heart-shaped cookies and frost them or have a fancy dinner out or be uber Romantic. But take the opportunity this day gives you to really celebrate love.
I, for one, have painted my nails glitter pink.