No sooner do candy canes disappear from store shelves, than heart- shaped boxes of chocolate fill the aisles. Stuffed animals, in all shapes and sizes, holding red or pink hearts, parade through stores for our perusal. Card companies and Jewelry franchises market “the sharing of LOVE,” as if Valentine’s Day is the only day on earth we show our affection. As predictable as candy corn at Halloween, February ushers in heart-shaped balloons that beckon us to celebrate. I know this, because I’ve stood in long lines at the Dollar Store more than once this week!
Despite all of the commercialization, the essence of Valentine’s Day is important, dare I say, essential. Mankind was created for fellowship, and fellowship springs from caring, which springs from love. In the beginning, a loving Heavenly Father fashioned man and woman in His image; creating us for community with Him and with each other. Our need to be loved is central to our core.
Yet, why is it that many flounder to receive love, let alone extend it? Why do angry and resentful attitudes, jealous and selfish motives, and cruel and thoughtless words often mar our relationships?
Could one answer to these questions be as simple as, our efforts to protect a “woundedness” we naturally feel inside? Ever since Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden, there has been a disconnect with our loving Heavenly Father, a gap. Disobedience breaks fellowship, and causes us to defend our position in order to protect ourselves. Afraid of being hurt, or losing control, we often shut God out, as well as the people around us. The “silent treatment” we sometimes employ with loved ones comes to mind.
No wonder Blaise Pascal, renowned mathematician and philosopher, wrote the following: “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
Indeed, after half a century on this earth, I understand how we naturally try to fill the God shaped hole in our hearts with anything but Him. Expensive things and gadgets, education and fame, lovely houses and large bank accounts…nothing can meet our need for true love and fellowship, but a relationship with Christ! For, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
The most important Valentine ever given was written in the precious blood of Jesus.
He paid for the debt of our sin on the cross, so we might be restored to a loving relationship with Father God. His Valentine is eternal! For all who will receive His sacrificial gift, our hearts are healed and our capacity to love renewed. The love of Christ fills all our gaps. Happy Valentine’s Day!