I find it really sad that in our culture, Valentines Day has become just a way to celebrate romantic love. In many languages (including those in the Bible), there are multiple words for ‘love’, demonstrating the different types of love and different types of relationships which involve love.
The most classic passage in the Bible about love is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 where Paul gives us a description of love:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
There are loads of commentaries and sermons and blog posts on this passage, but I wondered what it might be like to use it as a short devotional around Valentines Day, not as a way of highlighting (shaming) the ways we don’t love well, but as a way to notice and be thankful for the people around us who love us in these ways.
The concept is a simple one:
1 Write a list of the ways love is described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
2 Next to each description of love, name someone who loves you in this way. For example, Love is kind – my Mum is always very kind to my children, filling up her Sweets Tin before they come and letting them choose a sweet treat from it.
If you struggle thinking of a person who loves you in a certain way, perhaps think of someone who loves others people in that way.
Just noting who loves us and how they love us gives us a better feeling of being loved. It isn’t enough just to be loved, we also need to feel loved.
However, you might want to also:
3 Thank God for each person and for the specific way they love you.
4 Make a little something to give to one of the people to show you appreciate their love.
This could be a small note, a card, some flowers or chocolate, or a cake.
You could do this on your own, together with your family or as part of a group – you could each volunteer one person who loves you to add to the group chart.
Isn’t it wondered how God has given us people to show us what love is like, what God is like? Isn’t it good to live in a world where we experience love in so many ways?