By: Pam McCollum
What is love?
Some people consider February the month for expressing love to significant others by buying gifts, taking them out to eat or both. Did you know that it has been projected that 20.1 billion dollars will be spent on Valentine’s Day this year, of that, 3.9 billion dollars will be spent on jewelry?
How did Valentine’s Day evolve? It has its origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia which was an annual festival held in Rome between February 13-15 to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. This festival also celebrated the coming of spring. By the end of the 15thcentury Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. It came to be celebrated as a day of romance. Valentine’s Day may have taken its name from a priest who was martyred about 270 by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. According to legend, the priest signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailors daughter whom he had befriended and by some accounts healed from blindness.
This is all fine and good but how does it answer my question “what is love?” It doesn’t, I thought a little history would be good. But according to an online dictionary love is an intense feeling of deep affection. There are approximately 540 references to some form of the word love in the scriptures. God must have thought love was important to mention it that many times. As a matter of fact, Jesus gave us two commandments in the New Testament that deal with love. Matthew 22:36-40 tells us that Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The Lord inspired Paul to write a whole chapter dedicated to love. I Corinthians 13 tells us all we need to know about love. It begins like this: “If I speak with a human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t have love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “jump” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
I would like you to ponder on this as you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year “Do I love others as myself? Do I love others like Jesus loves them? How can show others that I love them? How can I show God that I love him? Something to always remember- Jesus loved you so much that he died for you. Jesus demonstrated His love for you on the cross, how are you demonstrating your love for Him?