Did You Know That The Month Of February Is Full Of Interesting Remembrance Days?

February is home to ‘World Peace and Understanding Day’, and ‘World Mother Language Day’. I bet you didn’t know that the ‘World Day of Social Justice’ is also observed in February. Those are only a few we have time to mention here, but who knew that February was so rich with special days? Clearly, not many.

I believe that’s largely due to the fact that when it comes to February holidays, there is one that seems to eclipse all others. Valentine’s Day! Perhaps it is that deep-seated inclination for the romantic that has made St. Valentine the king of February festivities. Whether it identifies with the reckless abandon of young love or the hard-earned richness of a long, seasoned marriage, or any other relationship in between, Valentine’s Day is the day those loves are celebrated.

History tells us that Valentine was a priest recognized for Sainthood by the Christian church in 496, some 200 years after his martyrdom in Rome on February 14th, 269. He was most famous for his evangelistic efforts and care for persecuted Christians during the time. Tradition states that Emperor Claudius II had him executed for trying to convert him to faith in Christ.

So, what does this guy Valentine have to do with our modern-day celebration of love? Well, according to one historical account, the last thing Valentine did before his execution was declare his love, by written letter, to a young woman, whereby he signed it (and the tradition was born) ‘from your Valentine.’

That’s it! Based on that simple, but dramatic ‘dying breath’ expression of love and devotion, Valentine was eventually recognized by the church as the patron Saint of romance and love.

From there it was simply a matter of time before that day became what it is today; the West’s 3rd most popular holiday after New Year’s and Christmas. Billions and billions of dollars are spent every year on Valentine’s Day. That’s billions, with a ‘b’. That’s a lot of money, and it is all spent by people trying to express their love to that special someone in their life.

If the saying ‘numbers don’t lie’ applies here, then our combined spending globally for Valentine’s Day is a massive indicator of how important love is to us. Of course, those statistics don’t even begin to touch on the astronomical amount of time, money and resources we spend on other expressions of love on a day-to-day basis.

In this case, it is true, numbers don’t lie. Humanity’s hunger for love is undeniable.

It’s as if we were created for it.

Interestingly enough, that concept is one of the most foundational revelations of the Bible; ‘God is love’!

Sure, God has revealed different facets of His character in different ways. In creation we see His wisdom, intelligence and creative power. The human conscience reveals to us God’s moral compass embedded in our hearts. And through divine revelation of Scripture we learn of the many other unparalleled perfections unique and distinct to His person.

But when it came to fully expressing the nature of His love, it wasn’t enough for God to say He loves us in words alone. The Bible says He vividly shows it to us through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

One of the most famous passages of the New Testament summarizes it this way, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

The Bible teaches us that in one single staggering expression of love, God forever settled the question of our value to Him and His love for us. As it says in Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The cross where Jesus Christ died is the ultimate expression of love. There God showed us that He was willing to bridge a divide no human possible could, to reconcile us to Himself. Christianity is not supposed to be some burdensome adherence to a rigid religious system, but the response of the heart to a Holy God who has expressed His love in radical, matchless terms; an aspect of God’s heart toward you and I that no other religious system can offer.

Can you look at the cross and recognize the lengths God has gone in forgiving your sin and restoring you to Himself? The Bible declares, “you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold… but with the precious blood of Christ”. His love is not measured by clever greeting cards, bouquets of flowers or boxes of chocolates. It is measured by the sacrifice of His Son. His unfailing devotion to us isn’t expressed in diamond rings or earthly wealth, but by the gift of the Holy Spirit, who gives love, joy and power for to truly live, to all who place their faith in Jesus.

God’s love is not forced on any of us. He offers it freely, through faith, by grace. He has done all He will, in Christ, to express His love to us. Now, the question that has been printed on literally countless Valentine’s Day cards, God asks of you. “Will you be Mine?”

By Pastor Tim Mattox, Calvary Chapel Paphos

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