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Valentine's Day - A bigger love story
by Belinda Tigell

We reach that date in mid-February, and we all have a different experience of it, and a different attitude toward it. A 'greeting card holiday', pressure to effectively express affection for your beloved, or the heartbreak of the grieving, and the lament of the still single.

But what if Valentine's Day was really about a bigger love that we all experience, whether we are in a romantic relationship or not? 
What if we dug deeper into Valentine’s Day and found something more there than mere romantic love?

music note A little bit of history repeating...

There are a variety of stories and some conjecture about the origin of the festival many celebrate on February 14th. Indeed, there is a lot of mystery and unknowns about its inception, who was involved and when. The conventionally held view is the story of a priest or bishop named Valentine who lived in the third century, who discreetly married couples despite the decree of the ruler of government at the time. Emperor Claudius believed that unmarried men made better soldiers in his empire’s army than that of married men, and Claudius’ primary preoccupation was to have the strongest army possible, despite the potential demise of the relational, emotional and societal health of the nation he ruled.

Valentine’s decision to contravene the emperor's decree and to perform wedding ceremonies for these men and women centuries later gave rise to the celebration of romantic love that is remembered on February 14th.

But romantic love is only one type or expression of love. And if February 14th is called Valentine’s Day, I propose we should be looking at the love Valentine himself expressed throughout his life that led him to that decision.


music note How deep is your love... 

Valentine exhibited a broader, deeper view of love than just the romantic type. His actions demonstrated a love for healthy relationships; a love for marriage, and a love for family; a love for God, and a love for right. And this love he valued, ultimately, more than he loved his own life, for, as the story continues, Valentine consequently was martyred for his betrayal of the emperor’s decree. 

No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection]
than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. — John 15:13 (AMPC)

While today many in the western world will be either celebrating their romantic love (or commiserating over the lack of it), what if we were to go one step deeper and look at what motivated Valentine to take these risks for romantic love and marriage? 


music note Everything I do, I do it for you...

The deeper love of Valentine’s life showed:

* a love for the God he respected, worshipped and served;

* a love for doing the right thing in a society where right was deemed wrong;

* a love for his fellow human — caring for their souls and hearts and needs;

The deeper understanding of Valentine’s love showed how these 'loves' caused him to take action, to the point where, although the pressure to give up would have been immense, the only thing he gave up was his very life in the pursuit of the cause of good, honour, right and truth.

What if we remembered that love today? What if we determined to love God above all else, to pursue good and right and truth, and to show love to others — no matter their station in life, no matter what they could do for us in return — and all of this despite the potential cost to us personally? That is a type of love that challenges. That is the type of love that humbles. That is the love that is life-giving.

music note Love pursuit...

Pursue love. 

Do the right thing, even when it’s tough. That is love. 

Encourage those around you at work, or school. That is love. 

Smile at a stranger. That is love. 

Demonstrate compassion and care for the hurting. That is love.

Be generous with what you have — be it a little or a lot. That is love. 

Confront wrong. That is love. 

Show patience and grace. That is love. 

Show genuine affection. That is love. 

Express to others your gratitude for who they are or what they do — particularly those seemingly small things that we can so easily take for granted. That is love. 

Tell (or show) the special people in your life what they mean to you, and be specific. That is love.

 
music note My Valentine...

This Valentine’s Day, let’s focus beyond that of only one type of love — romance. Love is so much bigger, so much broader, and the world could do with much more of all of it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. — 1 Cor 13:4-8a (Msg)


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Belinda Tigell is an Australian singer-songwriter, speaker, teacher, worship leader and author. Find her regular blogs on belindatigellministries.com. 
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