Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!
On this beloved day of the calendar, we celebrate our love for that special someone in our lives. Many of us will be giving (or receiving) boxes of chocolates and bouquets of roses as an expression of that love.
But sometimes those roses have thorns, don’t they?
The truth is, love sometimes hurts. It can cost us something.
We think of Valentine’s Day as simply about romantic love, but the history behind this day shows us that true love is often about sacrifice.
This was certainly the case for Saint Valentine of Rome, for whom Valentine’s Day is named.
This third-century priest was known for his evangelistic work and for aiding persecuted Christians. He was martyred for his faith on February 14 in AD 269, executed by order of Emperor Claudius for refusing to deny Christ.
Saint Valentine patterned for us a life focussed on loving others; he refused to deny the Source of that love, even if it cost him his life.
Christ modelled that sort of sacrificial love, too.
He would let nothing stop His purpose of showing love to others by securing for them a way to spend eternity with Him, even if it cost Him His life.
And it did.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)
The astounding thing is that God set this redemptive plan into motion while we were still enmeshed in our sin. He didn’t wait until we were perfect before demonstrating His unfathomable love for us.
“Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:7-8)
Now, thanks to our belief in Christ’s atoning sacrifice on our behalf, we are adopted into the family of God.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1a)
At the Cross, God wrote the ultimate love story. Your name can be written into this story, if you choose.
Jesus offers you a Valentine, as it were. He offers you His love.
Will you accept it?
© 2023 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.