Can Valentines get any sweeter?
Lent and Valentines. Quite a combination of occasions wouldn't you say. Both focused on Love, but one focused on inward reflection and fasting, while the other about outward expressions. Fortunately for those of you who gave up chocolate for Lent, the Christian practice of Lent breaks the fast on Sunday - this year that's Valentine's Day; you just have to eat all the Chocolate that day I guess. This shouldn't be a problem for most of us though.
While it may not be helpful to our sweet-tooth, celebrating Valentines during Lent is very appropriate when you think about the meaning of the two holidays.
Scripture teaches us that Jesus was the love of God in the flesh. So, if we want to understand what love truly is, we only need to look at the life of Jesus. For instance, we could replace the words of the 'love chapter' in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 with "Jesus" to get a clear understanding of just how Jesus personified love:
Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. Jesus does not envy, Jesus does not boast, Jesus is not proud. Jesus does not dishonor others, Jesus is not self-seeking, Jesus is not easily angered, Jesus keeps no record of wrongs. Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
During Lent we focus on what God has been doing in us. We get to look at all the ways Jesus has expressed God's love for us and how we might respond. Lent is a time, not of being sad and depressed for how we have fallen short, but to "soak in" all the ways he has been faithful in spite of us. This Valentine's you could focus on all the times your loved one has fallen short, but where would that get you? Depressed for sure. Instead, reflect on all the times that God has worked through your loved one to show you His grace. When we focus here, I believe that Lent can actually make Valentine's Day sweeter...even if we don't get to finish all the chocolate.
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