February is the month of love. At least that is what Hallmark and other retailers want us to believe. Within the next two weeks millions of roses, chocolates, cards, and rings will be purchased by someone to say, "I love you."
For most of us this season is a good reminder. A reminder, that saying the words, "I love you" are words that should be said more often. A reminder that going on a date, as just a couple, is important. A reminder that loving someone else is not only a joy for a moment, but a privilege for a lifetime.
Maybe it takes a season such as Valentine's Day to remind each of us that the love we have is not meant to be taken for granted but exercised each day. How id love exercised? It is exercised in the little things. A survey was once given to 100 women which asked, would you rather receive 52 roses on Valentine's Day or one rose on a random day each week of the year? Nearly all respondents chose the latter option. Why? One person responded, "I want to know I am loved every day of the year, not just one day of the year." Doesn't that comment hold true for us all?
We all want to know we are loved each day because daily love takes maturity that perseveres where shallow love dries up. Many people know what persevering love looks like. This is the love that holds not only the newborn child with an open heart, but also holds the hand of the dying grandparent. This is the love that thinks nothing of the daily drives to Sioux Falls for the cancer treatment for their loved one. This is the love that is able to hold a wayward child who has finally come home. Mature love. Persevering love is love that is exercised so that everyone can see it.
Lord willing, you have seen and felt this persevering love in a human relationship. But even if you haven't known that each of us have had this kind of love exercised for us. Love was exercised in no brighter way for any of us than Jesus Christ dying on the cross for us. In his death, we see the depth of God's love for us. God the Father was willing to exercise that love by standing by while evil men executed his son Jesus, that in his death, we would have life.
As Jesus died, his love was shown seven times as he cried from the cross. We know these as the seven words or phrases from the cross which we will study in the season of Lent this year, which begins ironically on February 14. In these words, we will hear how deep the Father's love for us in the death of his Son Jesus, his love, sent to earth.
God the Father was willing to exercise his love for you so that you would truly see what it means to love. To love, means sacrifice. To love, means prayer for one another. This is the love that we are to celebrate this Valentine's Day.