Thank you Hallmark for developing a holiday where we feel financially obligated to express that which we are committed to for the other 364 days of the year. It’s not that I am totally against Valentine’s day, I just feel it is a little unnecessary. I think it is a little funny to try to place all of the value of Love into one holiday. After all, the Beatle’s once sang, “all you need is Love…” and if that is indeed the case, then why do we only have one Holiday a year where we feel an obligation to express it. Maybe we should make the 14th of every month Valentine’s day (I can see the $$ symbols in the eyes of the greeting card company CEOs). And their argument might be, “Isn’t love that important?” And they are right…But the last time I checked tiny heart-shaped antacids with random shorthand and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that no one wants to eat aren’t really the best expression of love.
Jesus described the greatest display of love as such, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13)” That is a bit of a far cry from conversation hearts and chocolates. And I know the image that comes to most people’s minds. The soldier in the foxhole that jumps on a grenade for his comrade (insert Bruno Mars song here). Or the husband who steps in front of an attacker to protect his family. These are great images, but I think I have better images in mind. How about the mother who cares for a disabled child that will never be able to care for itself. Or the son or daughter providing round-the-clock care for an aging parent. Or the spouse who simply puts the needs of their family above their own at every turn.
All I am saying is that I am not sure that laying down one’s life is always a question of life and death. Maybe it is sometimes just a question of life. Where do you place the importance of the life you live? Who do you spend your life on? Are you living for yourself and your own desires, or have you laid those down for those around you?
Maybe this is a typical greeting card holiday. But if love is all you need, maybe Hallmark has helped us to examine whether or not “greater love” is actually something that we have given or received. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends…” What are you spending this Valentine’s day and who are you spending it on?