Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day: Not Just for Everyone Else

So it's Valentine's Day again, a day women with relationships can't wait for and women without them rue. A day men with relationships hope to get right and men without them do their best to ignore. It is as much a commercial holiday as Christmas has become, albeit the anticipation surrounding this holiday isn't quite the same.   But what is Valentine's day truly about? One complaint I have heard from some Christians about Christmas is that we should be celebrating Jesus all the year round, not just on this one day at the end of the year.   I think perhaps they have a valid point, though I love Christmas as much as the next person and don't think this perspective takes anything away from the joy of the holiday.  I digress.

The point is, the theme of Christmas is not one to be celebrated only once a year, but all 365. Can't we say the same for this holiday we celebrate every February 14th? But wait, you say, you've already pointed out that not every person has a significant other, someone they are "in love" with, and for this reason Vday means something different to them than it does to me! Perhaps, but I'd argue otherwise.

A couple years ago I got a tattoo, as was my wont in those days, of 1 Corinthians 13:4 (Love is patient...etc).  At the time, I'm not sure I understood the true meaning of this verse, mostly thinking it applied to the love of 2 individuals. Since then I've had ample time to wrestle with this verse, and I've come to view it in a different light.  While I still believe it applies to those closest and dearest to us, I've also realized how much more powerful, how deep, how broad sweeping these words truly are.  Christ called us to love not only those who love us, but our neighbors, our enemies, our friends. So, pretty much everyone. And if we take the definition of love that Paul gives in Corinthians, then that is quite the calling indeed. I'm not sure if there really was a St. Valentine (i bet google knows) but if there was, I bet this is more along the lines of what he would have wanted his namesake holiday to represent. To be patient with the clerk at Wal-Mart who is taking an eternity to ring you up. To be kind to the kid who just made fun of your haircut. To let that guy go ahead of you even when you're already late, cause you never know, maybe he's running late to. To not brag when you get the best grade, but to take genuine joy in the C student who squeaked out a B. To keep your cool when that guy on his cell phone cuts you off in traffic, and to let it slide when he does it again. And again. To always protect, to always trust, to always hope, to always persevere. Do these, and we can never fail.
Yeah, I think that's more like it.

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