In Children’s Chapel a few weeks ago, I asked the students how they see God in their lives. We talked about laughter, birthday parties, the beach, trees, animals – all sorts of things. Then, one child piped in, “When I help my mom around the house.” I was surprised and delighted by her response. She had made the connection between love and service all on her own! And serving those we love is such a beautiful picture of the way God’s love works.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, some of us may have our minds on cards, gifts, and dates – gestures that make it a romantic day. Some of us may be feeling lonely or forgotten as Valentine’s Day approaches. Others may feel like Valentine’s Day is a big waste of time. No matter where our feelings and experiences lie, we are all surrounded by chocolate hearts, teddy bears, and balloons in every store that hint that we aren’t enough, or that we’re not where we should be in life. In the midst of the pressure to perform or conform, this child’s answer is a simple but profound reminder of the true nature of love.

Whether we are married, in a relationship, or single, it is only natural to think about romantic relationships around this time of year. But this Valentine’s Day, I would challenge us to widen our lenses, reflecting on the way we love all those we care about. How have we shared the love of God with those around us? Have we loved our parents well? Our children? Our coworkers? Our neighbors?

Love means making the choice to serve those we care about. In John 15, Jesus commands us to love each other as he has loved us. He follows that with, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Love may include date nights or gift-giving; however, at the heart of true love in all its forms is self-sacrifice. And this is the love that Jesus showed on the cross.

May we remember that love is not something we show one day a year, nor is it confined to romantic relationships. Love is something that we are all called to partake in and share!  Matthew’s Gospel records Jesus’ words, in which He reveals a new covenant with the preeminent commands to love God and love our neighbor. And, as we are promised in Corinthians, “Love never fails”!

Written by Becky Gleason, Children’s Minister.