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The Greatest Valentine
Happy Valentine’s Day! In the United States, Valentine’s Day has become a romantic holiday. Those who are in a romantic relationship or who would like to be, exchange cards and gifts. I’ve often felt that this is rather exclusive and ignores all of the people who have lost their loved one for whatever reason or those who never found romance.
In most Latin American countries, Valentine’s Day is known as “Day of Lovers” or as “Day of Love and Friendship.” It is also common to see people perform “acts of appreciation” for their friends. Some countries have a tradition called “Secret Friend”, which is a game similar to the Christmas tradition of Secret Santa. If our Valentine’s Day exchanges of affection were broadened to include expressions of friendship and not simply romance, it would certainly take care of those who feel left out.
Tertullian was a prolific early Christian author during the third century who, in defense of Christianity, wrote “What marks us in the eyes of our enemies is our loving kindness. ‘Only look,’ they say, ‘look how they love one another.’ ” Christian love was a new strange phenomenon at the time. People weren’t accustomed to the kind of generosity and care which Christians showed not only to one another but even to non-Christians.
Is it still that way today? Can you tell if someone is a Christian by how they love others? Certainly that is not the only thing that makes someone, “Christian.” But it begs the question, if you say you are a Christian but the way you interact and relate to other people, no matter who they are, is indistinguishable from anyone else, than are you really following Christ?
The love that Jesus taught was a love that included everyone with no conditions. Jesus sacrificed himself for the whole world. No one is excluded from receiving God’s love and grace through Jesus. You just have to accept that Jesus did it personally for you. Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection are like God’s ultimate Valentine to you and to everyone who accepts it.
I can’t think of a better Valentine’s gift that you could give to someone than to share God’s Valentine with them. After all, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend. (See John 15:13) That’s what Jesus did for you. That’s how much God loves you. You know it! Shouldn’t everyone else know it too?
Your servant Pastor,