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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

It is Valentine's Day in the good old USA, so millions will exchange cards with words of appreciation, sentiment, and love. Millions will be spent on "special moments" which celebrate the love of one for another. Balloons will be filled by the thousands and bouquets of the things will appear in homes, workplaces, and even adorning headstones as some will remember loved ones who have gone on before. To some it is a very "commercialized" day - to others it is a day which takes great planning and creativity in order to show someone the depth of their love. As we express ourselves to one another during these moments of appreciation and celebration of one another, let us not forget the words of John F. Kennedy: "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." 

You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. (Matthew 5:16 VOICE)

I wonder how it would be if we took even one day a year to express such deep love for the one who gave his all for us - to truly spend all that energy, time, and talent just celebrating the greatness of Jesus - what would that be like?  Imagine one day with all the attention given to Valentine's Day redirected toward him - all that appreciation and love overflowing not in the "commercialism" of a holiday, but in the sincerest expression of a life lived out for him and only him.  Wouldn't that just set our world on fire?  Christ calls us to be an illuminating light - shining forth wherever we go. Nothing brings his heart greater joy and excitement than to see one of his children so full of his love that the "brightness" of Christ shines through!

The Calvinist minister, Henry Ward Beecher, penned these words:  "I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love."  I'd have to say the opposite is also true:  We never know how to love until we truly learn what it is to worship. Worship is devotion - the laying down of one's own thoughts, purposes, and plans in order to really engage with those of another.  For some of us, we declare our devotion to another human being on Valentine's Day - proclaiming we have laid aside our own agendas in life, if only for the day, to honor and celebrate the life of another and how that life has enriched our own.  We can be devoted to a lot of things or simply one person.  Devotion is a matter of directed attention and focused purpose.  We can devote to a field of study, a hobby, or even a passion of some kind.  Devotion is part of worship, but it isn't the whole matter.

To bring light into the world, we need to first be filled with light.  The only way for light to fill us is to empty ourselves of everything else which takes up the space light needs to occupy!  I wonder what might be different with this Valentine's Day if we were to empty ourselves of all our empty pursuits and center our purpose of loving just one - Christ himself.  If we were to finally make room for him in our complicated and "filled to capacity" lives, what might that light illuminate in each of us which might ignite the light in another?  I think we might just start a revolution of light!  In so doing, many could perhaps understand there is a way out of their darkest places and most confounding issues.  It isn't hard to let our light shine once we give light room to expand and become the illuminating source it was designed to be! Where light shines, love is sure to follow! Just sayin!