Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Va-LENTEN-tines Message

This year, the church calendar has Easter falling as early as it can. This means Lent is also falling as early as it can. This means Lent is falling the day BEFORE Valentine's Day. Celebrating with excess and richesse is out of the question. Lent is about penitence and preparation...preparing for the day of Christ's death and the passionate betrayal of Him to the cross. It's odd to juxtapose this time of dark in the church calendar with the commercial explosion of hearts, pink and doilies. So, for Lent this year, I am giving up Valentine's Day.

This does not mean I am giving up love, nor does it mean I won't grant my kids' Valentine's Day wishes. No. It does mean that I will not be celebrating the glorification of romantic love. Instead, I am going to use the overlapping of Lent and V-day to seek unconditional love. Isn't Vaentine's Day love expression the opposite of unconditional love? It's bedecked in costume. It's a love that comes with an extended arm bearing gifts of sugar and hearts. It's love that is created and born out of the heightened expectations of a Hallmark holiday.

However, at the center of it is a craving for love. A craving to love and be loved. A giving over of oneself to loving thoughts and caring gestures for a day. Seeking to be connected, rather than disconnected. Isn't this just what Jesus did? Didn't He come to us to connect us and love us? Maybe I don't have to give up Valentine's Day for Lent, but I do want to reframe it, see it in a different light. I want to imagine a love so great it is completely without condition.
A love so all emcompassing, it can barely be imagined by a human mind.
A love that forgives and forgets our shortcomings at all times.

The love God holds for us cannot be trimmed into a heart shape or even improved by a box of chocolates. It is pure and complete and it is there for us every day. Not just on Valentine's Day and not just during Lent and Easter. Not just on Christmas. It's something to be grateful for and to bask in every single day of our lives.


1 comment:

Chris said...

And amen.