The day of love

The blazing orb in the sky breaks light through the boughs of the fir tree. The light pierces, glows, bringing both sky and tree to life. The fir tree is like my heart, the furiously burning orb like the love of God. I almost don't see the tree for the light energy that penetrates it. Beauty and love revealed this morning through the boughs of a darkened tree.
Love, like the sun, gives of itself freely. I was pondering that this morning as I thought about Valentine's day. I confess to some selfishness of heart yesterday when I was building expectations in my mind about what I wanted valentines to be about. I was thinking flowers, chocolates, whisked away to a surprise dinner with my love. Sadly, I made the definition of love about what I could receive instead of what I could give. My expectation of the day was mostly based on me. It is selfish and it's also going to set me up for disappointment. I'm going to find greater joy in thinking about what I can give, how I can love. Love does. Love serves. Jesus showed us love by giving of Himself unto death. That is love. It is shockingly, terrifyingly selfless and it is who God is.
Did you know that St Valentine, to whom this day is dedicated, was a martyr? He married people at a time when polygamy was encouraged. Valentine believed in one man and one woman saying "yes" to each other for a lifetime. He believed that one man and one woman became "one flesh", joined at the hip, their spirits intertwined with each other and God for life. He believed that the "one flesh" of marriage is a journey into the Edenic place of bared hearts, souls and bodies with one another and with God. No fig leaves. He believed it enough to die for it.
Marriage is not an institution, it is real, exposed love. Marriage says "yes" I will learn to bare my body and my soul to you. I will learn to lay down my life for you. I do love you, I will love you.
We so desperately need a definition of love to help us navigate through life when our expectations have been established from childhood in the Hollywood version of love, the commercialism of Valentine's day or the witnessing of relationships falling apart because "my needs aren't being met". Love gave Himself to death on a cross. That is the definition of love.
Love is as strong as death, it's jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. (Song 8:6)
That sun, furiously burning in the sky, penetrating that tree - I need that sun. I need that fire on the cold boughs of my heart. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). We cannot love without knowing that love which blazes in the sky casting its light and heat across the whole earth because it can do no other. He is love.
Love hung on a tree is my guide, not the red balloons, the roses, the beautiful dinners. If my expectations are set rightly I will look for the love of Christ to shine through me and it will be a glorious day!

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