Valentine’s Day – love it or hate it?
Some say it’s a meaningful day to appreciate our loved ones while others claim the day is nothing more than one marketing ploy after the other.
Recently, I learned the surprising story behind our holiday, and how we’re getting Valentine’s Day all wrong. It’s so revolutionary and counter-cultural that I want to share with pretty much everyone I know.
Because, friends, it’s important!
In our commercialized culture, Valentine’s Day has become all about romantic love, and if you don’t have that kind of love in your life (or if your relationship is strained at the moment), then you’re just plain out of luck.
For this reason, Valentine’s Day often leads to depression and loneliness for many people because, let’s be honest, no relationship is perfect and no one wants to be alone on a day that’s all about love.
But the truth is that the origins of Valentine’s Day tell a completely different story – one that reveals how we’re getting Valentine’s Day all wrong!
We’ve been deceived by a world that would take the most precious gift we have to offer, and the most precious gift offered to us, and make it shallow and somewhat meaningless.
Why We’re Getting Valentine’s Day All Wrong
According to church tradition and historical documents, Saint Valentine was a priest who married couples in secret defiance of the Roman Emperor’s ban on marriage. Valentine believed so strongly in his faith that he demonstrated the ultimate form of love – not eros, or romantic love, but agape – the kind of love that sacrifices self for the sake of another. He put his life on the line in order to help couples who wished to follow God’s ways.
When he was discovered, Valentine faced punishment in the form of imprisonment and torture, eventually laying down his very life for a faith he so firmly believed in.
Did you catch that? He gave his life, for the sake of love and faith.
There is a depth of love to agape that is hard for us to even fathom, friends, and this world would ask us to settle for so much less, whether married or not.
When we feel “less than” because we don’t have a “someone special,” we settle for less than God’s best.
When we feel “unloved” because marriage is hard right now, we settle for less than God’s best.
When we make Valentine’s Day about what we get instead of what we give, we settle for less than God’s best.
Agape is God’s best.
Agape gives even when it hurts.
Agape is unconditional.
Agape never gives up.
And that agape love is already yours in Christ! All you have to do is receive it.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13
Saint Valentine simply followed the example of love he found in Christ, who gave his life on the cross out of love for a sinful and hostile world.
You can walk through this Valentine’s Day focused on cards and chocolates and things of this world, or you can walk through the day focused on the supernatural abundance of love that this world can never, ever give you.
My work-in-progress friends, you can spend Valentine’s Day washed in the truth that you are fully loved, unconditionally loved, eternally loved, by a man who gave his very life for you – Jesus Christ.
And as you’re filled with His love, you can spend this day giving agape love away to others, too. It just might change your whole perspective.
Let’s get the day right instead of getting Valentine’s Day all wrong.
Will you join me now in thinking of how you can make agape the focus of your Valentine’s Day?