This post will go live on Valentine’s Day 2020. Are you planning anything special for that loved one?
You may call me unromantic, but my wife and I do not do anything special on February 14th. The date means very little to us. We do not exchange cards nor do we exchange gifts. I do not send flowers and we do not go out to eat, etc. (I do buy her one box of chocolates around this time every year, but that is more of a “just because” and because the kind she likes are everywhere). Really, we do not do anything special.
But that does not mean I do not love her.
Frankly, I cannot remember the last time we did anything for Valentine’s Day. I know we would have done something early on in our relationship, but this is the 30th time this day has come and gone on the calendar since we started dating. So that is what this day is – just another date on the calendar.
Granted it is a date that makes a lot of money for restaurants, for Russell Stovers, for Hallmark Cards, and for flower shops across the U.S., but the date means little to us.
Our first date was just a little more than a week after Valentine’s Day. That is a date that we hold special. That is a date that we may do something together. But if not, that is ok too.
See, we decided long ago that it would be better to show our love 365 days per year (+1 on leap year!) rather than throw all of our energy into one day. Now, we are not perfect in sharing our love, but we both agree with this principle and as we continue to grow our relationship, I think we continue to do better at it.
And that is what love is. Certainly, love can and should be expressed in meaningful ways. But that is not the only way it can (or should) be expressed.
If we look at the life of Jesus, we see love expressed in everyday ways. What were miracles to many of the people He served was just a part of who He was (and is). Granted, Jesus did reveal His love in a couple of major ways. His suffering and death are one major expression of His love for us, and His resurrection makes a way for that love to last forever with Him.
The Bible captures this idea well. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15.13). And Paul would later write, “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5.8).
Jesus did lay down His life – for you and me. It was a big event and it deserves to be remembered. His resurrection was the proof of who Jesus said He was and thus is a major expression of His love as well.
But Jesus did not just love people on the day He died. He loved them every day that He lived. And now, He does not just love us on a certain date each year. He does not show His love to us once per year. He shares His love with us every day.
I know some are having a difficult time right now as they read this. At this moment I am thinking of a pastor in Kenya who has seven children and just lost his wife due to complications from a surgery. Many others may be dealing with horrific situations and questioning the love of God. But God made a way for you (for each of us) before we were born. And He continues to provide for us even when it is difficult to see.
Jesus’ death paved the way for us to experience that love, that grace, in a way that otherwise might seem beyond our reach. As James wrote, we are to draw near to God and He will then draw near to us (James 4.8). This drawing near is not something to do annually (like the celebration of Valentine’s Day) or even weekly (like at church on a Sunday morning). It is meant to be daily – a daily expression of our love to Jesus in response to His expression of love for us that was declared so long ago.
So, yes, big days, big events, and even big dates are important markers. Jesus did something very big and that brought us together. But it is His daily love for me that binds me to Him. It is His daily grace towards me that sees me through from day to day.
It is a love I cannot truly repay. But He knows that too.
So, I aim to do my part – sometimes far better than others. And one way I can do that is to love my wife each day, celebrating the great events of our life together, but more importantly taking time each day to make sure she knows I love her. I may never love her as well as I should, but knowing that Jesus loves me as He does should inspire me to love her more each and every day.