Afterthoughts on Valentine’s Day

Published 9:47 pm Monday, February 17, 2020

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

Last week included Valentine’s Day. Stores were bursting with ways to acknowledge love, the color red adorning hearts and cards with love notes. There was an abundance of roses, a variety of flowers, even large stuffed animals, nice to cuddle, all on eye-grabbing display, all about love. It would be short lived, taken over by the next sales pitch, but it was such a welcomed contrast to the anger and angry words of the past months.

I had a forest of thoughts growing in my imagination, thinking of how everything in the woods grows from something God created. While sitting at my kitchen table, I watched a bright red cardinal contentedly eating from the bird feeder attached to my kitchen window. The bird caught my attention because of a legend that birds choose their mates on this date, but my cardinal was choosing a meal. Not everyone or everything has been celebrating with acts of love.

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Valentine’s Day has two distinctions, one for Saint Valentine, reportedly martyred in the third century, the other for having been observed as the Feast of Lupercalia from ancient Roman times, not a very nice deity to remember. We don’t prefer martyrdom, but we would like to be considered saints. Regardless of its beginning, I was happy for the “change” to celebrate a day or two given over to love rather than harsh rhetoric.

Now that we recognize love, where did we get such a gift?┬áThe idea did not come from a saint’s death. The sacred Scripture was the first to reveal it in the love God has shown for His creation from the beginning. He wanted the best for us.

These past months, we have heard a lot of caustic words from angry politicians, all talking about the “change” they want to make in our prosperous country. They need to be reminded ultimate control is not in their hands. A loving God allows the power of choice, but we will be responsible for the consequences.

In Matthew 5-7, Jesus has strong words for any who name His Name. In chapter 5, He tells us how to live a blessed life. Omnipotence belongs to God Who alone can help us with the changes we need to make. It may sound extreme, but a free translation of verse 36 is a reminder the Creator God made the choice of our hair color before we were born. In chapter 7, there is a strong indictment: Jesus reminds us of our hypocrisy. He says one day some people standing before Him will hear him say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” What He speaks

should be the concern of each one of us, regardless of our political persuasion.

There is some good news. John the apostle says “Herein is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us.” Millions in the world are familiar with John 3:16, “For God so loved the world He freely gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Here is another reminder: “Brethren, if God so loved us, so also ought we to love one another…” That is the message we need at this time.

Sadly, not everyone loves Him. Those who do should show it by offering forgiveness and respect without those bitter and angry words that cannot be retrieved.

 

Myrtle V. Thompson, 92, is an educator, missionary and writer. Contact her at mvtgrt@gmail.com.