February has arrived, and we find ourselves in the “Love Month.” As I have thought about this, I find it puzzling that February has become associated with love in general and romantic love in particular. I know no one who declares February as his/her favorite month, but many people hold love in the highest regard. At least in our part of the world, flowers are available only if you want to purchase hothouse grown or imported varieties. Taking a romantic walk on the beach or in a garden has little appeal in February. February may be the Love Month, but it is easy to understand why most weddings are celebrated in the summer months.
And so I did some research about the history of Valentine’s Day. I expected to find that February was somehow associated with a St. Valentine. But there is a good bit of debate as to what historical figure is really connected with our celebration of Valentine’s Day, and the association with February is even less clear.
If I ran the world, would I move Valentine’s Day to a warmer and fuzzier month? Although Valentine’s Day is largely a secular holiday, I think I can make a good Biblical case to keep it right where it is. God’s love is unconditional and remains consistent and passionate regardless of circumstances. And He calls us to love with His love. Regardless of cold temperatures, grey skies, trying circumstances, and “unlovable” people, we are to love. The love God lavishes upon us and calls us to share is not the sentimental (and sometimes insincere) love that is commonly expressed on Valentine’s Day. God’s love pursues the “target” and works for his/her good; it expresses acceptance and grace; it offers second chances.
Valentine’s Day in February is a helpful reminder to us that love is not about easy, or comfortable. It is also an encouragement to rejoice in our Lord’s love for us and to invite the Holy Spirit to enable us to bear His fruit of love not only on Valentine’s Day, not only in February, but every day and every month. Indeed, this unbelieving and hurting world desperately needs to see God’s love in us, among us and through us.