February fourteenth of each year marks the culmination of what all of America; retail establishments leading the charge, embraces as the opportunity to display heartfelt expressions of love for one another. Valentine’s Day is the “designated” day when we are told to convey the extent of our emotional connection to those special persons in our lives. Everyone feels obligated to shower that special loved one in their life with flowers, romantic dinners, candy, gifts, etc. The National Retail Federation estimated in January, just two years ago, that Americans spent close to $17.3 billion celebrating love and, though the numbers aren’t readily available at the time of me penning this column, it is believed that amount has marginally increased each year since 2014.
Daniel Webster defines love in a number of ways: (1) To take delight or pleasure in; to have a strong liking or desire for, or interest in; to be pleased with; to like. (2) To have a feeling of love for; to regard with affection or good will; as, to love one’s children and friends; to love one’s country. (3) Affection; kind feeling; friendship; strong liking or desire; fondness; good will; as opposed to hate; often with of and an object. (4) A feeling of strong attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration; preeminent kindness or devotion to another; affection; tenderness; as, the love of brothers and sisters.
I, however, am convinced there’s another day which is to be celebrated March 27th this year that more adequately examples the true meaning of love than Valentine’s Day. Let us first resolve to explore exactly what the word entails as love is defined in biblical terms from the book of 1st John 4:7-11. (7) Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. (8) He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (10) Herin is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (11) Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
I venture to debate the fact that the date celebrated as Easter or Resurrection Sunday is far more expressive of a true representation of love’s definition. In that the ultimate display of love is to lay down one’s life for another and that’s exactly what Jesus did. The perfect Lamb of God chose to obey His father, conceding to the torture and subsequent death at Golgotha. He became the embodiment of man’s sin and endured a punishment undeserved only to be rejected and sacrificed by His own in order to facilitate a path by which all mankind…past, present, and future might be reconciled with our Father in heaven.
By description, the holy bible expresses that Jesus is love and all that God does is manifested from the love for His creation. The word is mentioned three hundred and ten times throughout the King James Version of the bible; one hundred and thirty-one times in the Old Testament and one hundred and seventy-nine times in the New Testament. Nearing the end of His tenure on earth, Jesus handed down a new commandment: John 13:34-35 – A new command I give you Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Of course, as is the case with most things concerning man, the idea of love has been completely misconstrued. The term “ I love you ” has to be listed as one of the most overused, grossly exaggerated statements ever uttered. Two people can encounter each other for the first time in mid-January and swear they’re passionately in “love” by Valentine’s Day. In today’s microwave society, they’re literally married with conjoined lives by the middle of June and in divorce court trying to sort through it all by the end of the year.
In fairness to the issue, there are those occasions when people do enter into a significant relationship that has the chemical composition to withstand the test of time. The seed is planted, allowed the opportunity to sprout and nurture into the budding emotion of true love. The miraculous bonding agent in those cases is most often determined to be the fact that both the husband and wife, at some point, entered into a relationship with the Lord which serves to sustain their union to each other. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.