Valentine’s Day in the United States is a busy day for people in love. Greeting card manufacturers peg it as the second largest card giving day behind Christmas. It’s a busy time for the candy business and the restaurant industry too. For what it’s worth, experts note that men spend about twice as much on Valentine’s Day as women. In any case it’s a fun holiday that comes to us from Great Britain where the idea of giving special cards seems to have originated. Often the cards were quite ornate and very expensive. They were sometimes crafted by specialists hired especially for the job. Later the holiday was formalized and given a name after several early Christian martyrs. The name Valens simply means “worthy.” It’s a holiday that brings warmth and love back into the forefront of our busy, self-centered culture.
The Bible predates Valentine’s Day by many, many centuries. It is the original Valentine and the greatest Valentine ever sent. It is a message of undying, eternal love coupled with a reminder of all of the concrete, tangible evidences of that love shown to multitudes since the world began.
Consider the source of the Bible, God. Sent by the instrument of the Holy Spirit to holy and inspired men (2 Peter 1:21) the Bible records the efforts and intervention of God into time to save men from their sins. The Bible itself teaches us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and that he is the origin of love. Further, we learned to love others ourselves through him who loved us first (1 John 4:19). Our Valentine, the Bible, comes to us from the source of all love, God!
While our present day Valentines are often adorned with silly sayings, funny frou-frou like pictures and calorie laden candies, the Bible speaks and demonstrates real love. We often suggest that man rightfully should have been destroyed just shortly after he was created. Having willfully and deliberately offended the divine holiness of his creator, man deserved eternal damnation. Instead he was granted a reprieve – a second chance to be reunited with the one who loved him deeply. Amazingly, mankind’s rebellion was not a surprise to God. Paul writes that God chose man “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4; also Matthew 25:34; 1 Peter 1:20)! One necessary characteristic of the divine is to know all things. That is, to have perfect knowledge of things before, at present and in the future. Such is the ability to grant prophetic utterances. Therefore, God knew man would sin and God knew that it would cost the life of Jesus, “his only begotten son” (John 3:16), for the salvation of wayward man. It was this giving of Jesus at Calvary that proves or demonstrates God’s love (Romans 5:8).
Apart from the Bible, man would never know of God’s love for him. He would be aware of a creator (Romans 1: 19-20) but never aware of his great personal love for every being. It is only through the Bible that we learn of God’s early preparations for man and for his ongoing love and care for him throughout time. Without the Bible we would never know that God was willing and purposed to give up his dearly beloved son for each of us. Apart from the Bible we would never know how to properly return the love that God has shown to us.
Typically, Valentine’s Day sees expressions of love and joy from both the giver and the receiver of the card or gift. Shouldn’t God’s great valentine be similarly met with a return of affection? How will you show your love for God today?