Today, in the Western World, our culture celebrates Saint Valentine’s Day, though the Saint portion was discarded long ago–too religious by half, and not in keeping with some of the modern uses the holiday is put to. However, the real Saint Valentine had nothing to do with the romantic traditions associated with him. For that we can thank Geoffrey Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules.
But underneath what has been lost and what never was is the root of what has been gained and that is better by many halves than anything the world or even Chaucer ever had to offer. Saint Valentine, indeed all the saints of God, which includes myself and all those who name Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, owe our deep understanding of true love, of AGAPE, to, as Saint John said in his first epistle, God himself.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
The love which John speaks of, which every Saint of God embodies, at its root imparts worth to the beloved. It is fundamentally giving, not taking. It does not see and want; it sees and offers of itself. It is sacrificial. It is encapsulated in the often quoted passage from the Gospel of John.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
The operative word is gave, love gave. So on this day devoted to expressions of love, if you remember nothing else, remember this: it is not about you; it is about the one you love; it is about giving.
For your enjoyment, I am including a little email Valentine I constructed for my wife when she was working in Florida. May it inspire you to express similar sentiments to those you truly love.
Grace and peace.
Be My Valentine
We have passed the silver milestone
and sometimes our house looks just
a little too small for all our stuff
but even when things are a little tense
or it seems nothing is going right
I remember that we were both caterpillars
that God is inexorably turning into butterflies.
So, don’t be scared away by the hard times
or problems of life and health
because no matter how times flies away
we can climb those mountains
by diving right in
and helping each other to become
all that God has meant us to be.
So announce it far and wide
No matter what life holds in the years ahead
We will work it out together
because you have met your knight
and I my princess
and what more could one ask.
So with hugs
I ask again.
Be my valentine.
Love you, wg