The party poppers have long since popped, and the remnants of the New Year’s celebrations cleaned up. Resolutions have been crafted, begun, attempted, and in many cases already abandoned. The NFL playoffs are a part of history, and the Super Bowl is just around the corner. A thrilling time of year for many, to be sure. However, February also ushers in the season of love, candy, flowers, and over a billion greeting cards bought, sent, and received. That’s right, Valentine’s Day is here, and there is love and romance in the air.
As a self-described “hopeless romantic”–it’s true, just as my wife–I’m a sucker for all things romantic. Well, maybe not all things. I still struggle with many Hallmark Channel offerings. I love a happy ending to a story, but some of the inane “conflicts” the characters go through are just too ridiculous. Can I get an Amen? Even with this embarrassing confession, I still have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s the over-commercialization of the day, or the undue pressures, both real and perceived put on relationships over a “holiday” that has become all about how much you spend or to what lengths you went to prove your love for your Valentine. Whatever the case, as the song says, “money can’t buy me love.”
I mean, I obviously understand the concept. Dedicate some time and effort to demonstrating (or proving–depending on your level of cynicism) how much you care about those whom you call Valentine. Show some appreciation. Dote a little. Pull out the stops for just one day and let that special someone know just how much you care!
Let’s face it. The world can often be a very dark place. We all could use a little positive attention. Some love. A bit of romance. Right?
Lately, when I’ve been thinking about love and romance, you know who I’ve been thinking about? I’m gonna get myself in trouble here because it’s not my wife. Wow, this blog just took a reality-TV-going-to-commercial-break turn.
But it hasn’t been my wife that I’ve associated with romance these last few days. At least not directly. Sorry, Hon.
I’ve been thinking about the creator of romance, the embodiment of love: Jesus.
I know, you’re thinking, “Wait, what?! Jesus? Well, yeah, I’ve heard that Jesus is all about love, but that’s different. Isn’t it?”
Did you know that Google, the “all-knowing,” offers a definition of romance as, “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.” Well, okay, that makes some sense. If Jesus was all about love, which most everybody agrees with, and he was a very mysterious guy who, history tells us, performed countless miracles and healed the sick, lame, blind, deaf, and otherwise downtrodden (don’t know about you, but witnessing the miraculous registers high up on my excitement scale), then how could he not fit the definitions of romance?
How about this?
Jesus turned water into wine, cast out demons, healed bodies, forgave sins, challenged the oppressive status quo, turned twelve nobodies into world-changers, convinced his most zealous opponent to join his cause, and oh yeah, predicted his death and resurrection and pulled it off! Are you just a little excited yet?
And why did he do all this?
He didn’t do it for fame. He didn’t do it for money or recognition or to gain power.
He did it all for love. Which when you consider all of that, especially the part about being tortured, crucified, and murdered for everyone else’s sin – not his own – you begin to see the mystery and excitement of it all. Don’t you?
And what’s a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love?
I think they got it wrong when it was decided what Valentine’s Day would represent. There’s even more than one legend the holiday was built around, so I wonder why they settled for romantic love between two people? They should’ve made it all about love. Jesus-style love. In John 13:34, Jesus said,
“…love one another: just as I have loved you, you also love one another.”
Maybe it’s time for a Valentine’s Day shift. It’s time to put a little romance in their error and put a whole lot of Jesus-style-love in the air.
This year, instead of focusing all your affection on your sweetheart, significant other, or that small group of special people in your life for just a few hours of a single day, why not add some sacrificial love to all your relationships for the rest of the week? Or month? Or year?
Now before you get all creeped out on me, think about it! How can you add a little excitement and mystery to your relationship with your wife, or kids, or your parents, your friends, and your neighbors and coworkers? Could you do something nice for them? A mysterious gesture of brotherly- or sisterly-love?
- Could you lend a hand?
- Say a kind word?
- Hold the door open?
- Leave the front parking space for someone else?
- Bring your neighbor’s trash cans in?
- Sit and listen?
- Share a meal?
Just show some love. Each and every day. In the big moments as well as the little ones.
Still stuck on how to show love? Need some more help? Well, did you know that synonyms for ‘love’ are fondness,
Need more? Try friendship, kindness, charity, goodwill, sympathy, and humanity.
Can you find any room in your schedule to share any of those? What kind of impact might it have on your relationships?
So, go ahead, love some of the people in your life the way Jesus would: selflessly and in the name of Love.
It won’t return void, and we might make our world just a little bit less dark.
About the Author
Jamie Warner, a Marine Corps veteran and credentialed English teacher, is the West Coast Regional Site Facilitator for Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs. He has been witness to many transformations during the five-day programs held at SkyRose Ranch in San Miguel. He plays a vital role in helping us help veterans and active duty military personnel face the struggles of military life, combat deployments, and symptoms of post traumatic stress (PTS) head-on.