I’m known to be a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Valentine’s Day. If it was appropriate to proclaim, “Bah humbug!” to the day, I probably would.
Consider Exhibit A:
Buying kid’s Valentine’s Day cards for my son to exchange with his preschool classmates had me grousing and grumbling to my husband:
- “I stood in the grocery store Valentine’s aisle for ten minutes looking for cards that weren’t too girly, too scary (monsters), or too dumb.”
- “Why do they make parents do this?”
- “They will just throw these cards away anyway.”
- “I really don’t like these silly school parties.”
On and on I moaned, muttered, mumbled, and whined.
My husband commented, “It’s a fun day for the kids,” and then ignored my continued bad attitude. (Wise man.)
My Scrooge-like disdain for the day probably stems from years of relationship heartbreak and solitary singlehood. And admittedly, I do share a bit of frugal DNA with Mr. Scrooge. (Waste of money. Bah humbug!)
However, I’m not alone in my mixed emotions. Author and seminary professor, Dr. Sandra Glahn, in her article, How Do You Feel about Valentine’s Day?, describes the angst many men and women feel about Valentine’s Day. But she also writes that Valentine’s Day gives us a choice to create opportunities for expressing care and love for one another.
Who are our “one anothers”?
- The widow down the street
- The newly divorced coworker
- The friend whose spouse is ill
- The single sibling or friend
- The teachers and classmates of your child
- The neighbor whose political party signs in their yard differed from yours (Ouch.)
Why should we choose to express care and concern for one another?
Short answer: Christ commanded it.
“I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34–35)
It was not a suggestion, a nice idea, or mere advice. Jesus charged us as Christ-followers to be known by our love for one another. In contrast to my example above, let’s look at his.
Consider Exhibit B:
Jesus came to earth in bodily form knowing he would be mocked, misunderstood, critiqued, and crucified. Unlike my grouses and grumblings, Jesus and his apostles said:
- No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
- Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom. 13:10)
- Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. (1 Cor. 13:4)
- We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. (1 John 3:16)
One of the Greek words (or derivatives of) used for love in the verses above is agapé. Agapé is love that is sacrificial, unconditional, and expects nothing in return. It even applies to those with whom we extremely dislike, disagree, and—yes—even consider our enemies. (i.e. That person who voted opposite you in the recent election.)
“You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute, so that you may be like your Father in heaven…” (Matt. 5:43–45)
How do we express love to one another?
We express love by:
- The words we choose to say (or don’t say).
- The actions we choose to make (or don’t make).
- The Social Media comments we choose to post (or don’t post).
I did end up casting my Scrooge attitude to the side and found cards, treats, and treat bags for my son to exchange with his classmates for Valentine’s Day. And I will have him help me assemble those items so he learns that sharing gifts with his classmates—his “one anothers”—is a way to express love and care.
While it is certainly easier to “Bah humbug” those in our sphere of influence, choosing not to spend time, money, energy, compassion, or care, Christ has called us to live in his selfless and sacrificial example, not Scrooge’s.
How will you not be a Scrooge this Valentine’s Day (and the days following)?
- To learn more about the biblical words and expressions for love, read my other Valentine’s Day blog: More Than Just A Day for Chocolate.
- To understand how your single, single-again, and widowed friends might be feeling on Valentine’s Day (and how you could possible show love for them), read my blog: A Single Girl’s Revolt Against the Day of Love | La rebelión de una chica soltera en contra del día del amor.