Whoever does not love does not know God,
because God is love.
1 John 4:8
When I was growing up, February was always my favorite month. I can feel some of you raising your eyebrows in disbelief, after all, February is cold, dark, and not thought of as particularly festive. But for me, it was the month of my birthday, and my mother’s. In school, we made stovepipe hats, and cut out paper cherries and hatchets to celebrate the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. We rode our sleds down the hill in front of our house, with someone always stationed at the bottom to shout, “CAR COMING!” And, it was the time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with cards, love notes, colorful conversation hearts, and fancy chocolates.
It’s easy to become bit cynical about this holiday which celebrates love, affection, admiration, and friendship. Shortly after Christmas, the shelves are stocked with packages of little cards for children to give their classmates and a wide variety of chocolates in heart-shaped boxes. Companies have used this special day as an opportunity to sell their products and services. It’s all about love, in one way or another.
As Christians, we feel God’s ever-present love each day and as Pastor Kim says, we are His Beloved. We can look to Scripture to find just the right verses to use in sentiments we extend to our friends and loved ones. One of my favorites comes from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
If we believe that love is really more than just saying or writing the words, but manifests in the actions we show toward all God’s children, then we might do well to read this scripture more often. Are we patient? Do we get angry when our children express points of view that are different from our own? Do we persevere when members of our community are reluctant to welcome all people into our circle. 1 John 3:18 reminds us that we are to “…not love with words or tongue, but with actions and truth.”
This year, I think I will make a special effort to be a little more generous with my love…more phone calls to friends I don’t see often, sending a card or note (by snail mail) to someone who is going through a tough time, making cookies for a family who is quarantined…and I will take the time to thank the Lord for loving me just as I am this Valentine’s Day.