It’s a ‘holiday’ designed to get you telling your romantic loved ones how much they mean to you. It’s a time when big, grand gestures are encouraged. And even for the those with the stiffest of upper lips, it’s a time to talk about LOVE.
The cynics say it’s all about money; a day designed by the card manufacturers to get us to part with our cash. Those who love the notion of it use it as a chance to be brave and tell someone how they feel, maybe for the first time. For me it’s an excuse to get dressed up and go on a date with my husband. With two kids and four jobs between us… yes please!
But as Christians it should act as a reminder about the God we serve.
A God whose love is EVERYDAY marked by the grandest and most sacrificial of gestures, in that he sent his son Jesus as a living message of love to us.
This is no ordinary love. No human ‘verb’ which can be taken, removed or dulled down.
It does not fail. Psalm 136
It cannot be shaken. Isaiah 54:10at time of year again. Yes, sandwiched between Christmas and Easter, and accompanied by chocolate love hearts and roses, it’s St Valentine’s day.
It is gracious and compassionate Psalm 148.
It is sacrificial. John 15:13
Above all else though, it is not merely words. It is who God is, and is who we must be too (1 Cor 13). I love this passage, taken from Colossians 3:12-17 in The Message translation of the Bible. It says: “So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
Now, if that’s not a great big Valentine’s card from us, to the world, I don’t know what is.
So here’s my top five ideas to show God’s love to a your world, this weekend:
- Send a card!
Okay so that’s not new, but why not pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in which person or people in your world could really use an encouragement? Don’t overload it with scriptures to make them think you sent it with an ulterior motive, but DO tell them that you prayed for them and felt God laid them on your heart. Who doesn’t want to know they are being thought about by God, and their friends.
Have a meal.
I’m being liberal with my words there. I mean – provide a meal. If there’s a homeless shelter or soup kitchen you could always offer your time, but I bet there are other people who would appreciate this, already in your world. How about your elderly neighbours? The mum who is sick but still holding the family together? The couple who have just got married and are dating ‘in’ this year instead of going out. The first time parents, too tired to eat never mind cook. In almost every neighbourhood in the UK right now there are families benefiting from food banks. What better way to say you are loved and not forgotten about, than by taking the time and money from your own budget, to prepare a meal.
- Don’t forget the chocolate.
Well it wouldn’t be Valentine’s day without chocolate would it? Surely it’s not just me! This year why not make your chocolate buying part of a larger strategy to place love and value on all of humanity? By simply making sure the chocolate you purchase is ‘fair trade’ you are making sure the people behind the product have a better life – not just a happy Valentine’s day. Buying fair trade helps stamp out modern day slavery, helps give workers the wage they deserve and helps us send a message, as Christians to the world, that our God is a God of love, mercy and justice.
- Sack the babysitter.
Sorry what did you say? Yep, you heard me, give the babysitter the night off. Why? So you can ‘date’ your kids. It’s something our family has been doing for a while, mainly because I have two sons and I’m committed to raising them as Godly men, and don’t want to leave it to the world to educate them on what it mean to be real men. So every so often we go out, just me and one of them, for a date. Armed with a few pounds from dad, maybe to buy an ice cream at a restaurant, or to go for a hot chocolate somewhere, they choose the location, open my door for me, pay the bill at the end and if I’m lucky I get a kiss on the cheek on the doorstep. I know a few dads who do the same thing with their daughters. But even if you don’t have the time or resource to have this one-on-one time, cancel everything else and have a family date this weekend with your children. Remind them that God has given them to you. They are your prized possessions and time = love when it comes to raising a family.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
There’s no greater way to demonstrate that you love God, through Jesus Christ, and that He loves the world, than by showing forgiveness. I saved the toughest for last, but actually it’s the one that will have the biggest impact on YOU. A great quote I once read said, ‘unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.” To experience the fullness of God’s love for you, which will in turn help you extend that same love and invitation to others, take the first step towards making amends with those who may have wronged you. Forgiveness doesn’t take away the hurt or wrong thats been done to you, nor does it mean you have to forget. It simple gives you permission to stop carrying it with you. It gives LOVE permission to dominate.
Have a wonderful weekend ladies. Let’s start a revolution of love.