Valentine’s Day is over, and for some, the response may be “finally,” while for others it may be “wait — what?” If you are in the last category, you may be in trouble on so many levels — but enough about me.
In retrospect, it is unfortunate that Valentine’s Day has been labeled a Hallmark holiday since I think it is more than that. With the exception of the unfortunate event in Chicago in 1929, it has been a pretty positive holiday. After all, it is about love, but then, so is Easter and Christmas.
Last week, when I was in the Valentine’s section at a store with my wife and some of our granddaughters, I was surprised that there was a plush sloth with a message of love embroidered on its middle. I guess that should not have been much of a stretch since Valentine’s cards with chubby, arrow-shooting cherubs, have long since been replaced by everything from dinosaurs to cars, even skeletons. Nothing says love like skeletons, but I guess that depends on one’s perspective.
In fairness, feelings of love and emotion have been described in different ways since people have been talking about them. When I first became a Christ follower, I learned that often in the Old Testament, the focus of emotion was not described as a feeling in the heart but rather in the bowels. There is not enough time to spend on all of the comparisons, but from the great love song “The Song of Songs” in the King James translation, it reads: “My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.” Song 5:4 The same verse in the New International Version reads: “My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening; my heart began to pound for him.” NIV
I think it was more than clever marketing that has moved an image to the shape of a heart, although not anatomically correct, with an arrow piercing it is more romantic than say a length of intestine. That being said, I have noticed the popularity of a well-formed dollop of smiling poop, so can the intestine with the arrow be far behind?
My response to Tina Turner’s question, “What’s love got to do with it” may be sometimes not much. Love is perhaps one of the most over and misused words in our language. Our choice of potato chip flavor and our child cannot be of equal value, while I do enjoy kettle chips, I would not sacrifice my life for them. The great love story for humankind is often summed up in the familiar verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
When looking into the New Testament, you will find love to be the most important part of the believers’ operating system; in fact, all of the wonderful gifts from God require love in their application. Paul explains it so well in his first letter to the churches at Corinth in chapter 13. I suggest you read it because I could not do it justice in a summary. Valentine’s Day is officially over, but it will appear again next year. In the interim, love never goes out of season and real love never really loses its value.
Bill Upton is chaplain of the Tooele City Police Department.