It’s February … the love month.
Valentine cards with heart -shaped cut-outs and thoughtful messages dominate gift shops. Boxes of chocolates and stuffed teddy bears appear in stores along with bundles of red roses and seasonal balloons; all designed to help customers bring smiles to loved ones. Though much of the celebration centers on romantic love, a host of other relationships are included in our Valentine celebration.
I can still recall the excitement of Valentine’s Day as a child. In elementary school, we prepared for the arrival of February 14th by taping paper bags to the back of our chairs. A class party followed and classmates exchanged tiny greeting cards by slipping them into the chair pouches. Weeks ahead of that date, we’d search out simple boxes of the corny cut-out cards and get them ready to share with our friends. It was pure joy ~ fun to give and a delight to receive. Those little messages weren’t just read and tossed; they were reviewed because those small tokens held a big meaning ~ someone thought of us. Someone cared enough to make an effort to write our names on an envelope and personalize the message with their own signature.
Naturally, the passage of time shift the sentiments we share, but we never outgrow the need to be thought of or cherished. It is a longing of the heart. Such affection nurtures the romance between a man and woman. It provides a sense of security for children within their homes. It benefits employees and employers within the workplace and it is the bond that cements families and maintains friendships.
Placing value on people is an expression of love; something that is painfully lacking in our world. Perhaps, in the weakness of our humanity, that happens because we forget that we are to put others before ourselves. Being loved and cherished becomes our focus rather than demonstrating it. We get things messed up when we do that. And in truth, it is an unnecessary mess; for all the while, we are loved and cherished beyond anything we could imagine.
No greater or more personal demonstration of love has ever been shown to us than by the One who went willing to a cross on our behalf. And no deeper or more profound expression of love has ever been penned than those found within the pages of the Bible. They are not sugar-coated sentiments, but powerful words of life and truth, of mercy and grace, of hope and promise. Some take time to open God’s love letters, but most never read His words and miss how wide and deep and high the love of Christ is for them; choosing instead the world’s superficial definition of love. That’s how our focus gets confused.
Maybe you’re there. Maybe you’ve looked for love in all the wrong places and it’s left you longing for something you can’t even explain. Love is waiting for you to step into the embrace of God. The Gospel of John (3:16) says that God loves you so much that He gave His only Son and that if you believe in Him you will not perish, but have everlasting life. Before God came in flesh to convey that truth, He proclaimed it ahead of time: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3). His desire is to win your heart. His passion is to save your soul. But He won’t force it … true love never does.
Nothing gives us the security of being cherished more than the love of God and nothing expresses it better than the gift of Jesus, the Savior. His love is pure, perfect and eternal and His heart has room enough to welcome you into a love relationship like no other.
Imprinted on His nail scarred hands is a message with your name on it: “I love you this much. Will you be mine?”.