Since Valentine's Day was yesterday, all week I have been thinking a lot about the meaning of love.
It first came to mind as I was browsing the Valentine's Day aisle at everyone's favorite store. Those valentines (many of them needed to be edited) referenced "love" in such a way that raised my concern. Others read with words like “tell him you care” and “I love you…” printed on banners and cards and promotion materials.
“Love" was all around me, so the mental list I was making was filling quickly. When I got to my car, I retrieved a crumpled grocery list from the car console and decided to do some observing. As I went about my errands that day, I kept a close watch for evidences of love and decided to write down what I saw and heard to better understand how people think of love.
First on my grocery/love list was a young woman wearing an "I love New York!" T-shirt with that famous bold red heart ... a minivan passed me with an "I love my Doberman" bumper sticker ... I heard one teen swoon “I just love those earrings”…two moms exchanged comments at the local drive-in with, "Don't you just love the kindergarten teacher?"
How about this one: Remember Leona Helmsley, the multimillionaire? She left her beloved white Maltese named Trouble a $12 million trust fund in her will, which was made public in court.
Or this one — I heard about a couple who spent $100,000 in an attempt to clone their beloved cat. It goes way beyond pets. I read an article just this last week entitled “America's love affair with cars!”
No matter how well intended these references to love may be, the Bible speaks of true love ... Agape love ... Christ-like love. John 3:16 reminds us that God loved us so much that he sent his son, Jesus, to die for us.
Christ's love for us is not based on what we have done to earn it. It is not marked off by boundaries. It is not affected by global warming.
It will last for eternity. It does not depend on what social class we are, it is not contingent on how much money we have or don't have, and it cannot lose value in the stock market.
The cancer patient, the felon, the child, the wealthy, the addict, the professional, the deployed, the retired, the kind-hearted, the student, the homeless, the critic, the successful, the HIV patient, the athlete, the unemployed — all are covered by the love of Christ.
It may be called Valentine's Day for us but the concept of love is not something new. The Apostle Paul tells us that love is the greatest of attributes.
First, love was conceived in the heart of God. He sent a baby, Jesus, so all people could come to know God.
Then, Jesus demonstrated that love for us by dying on the Cross for all of humanity. Then he was raised on the third day and is preparing a place, heaven, for those who believe in Him to spend eternity with Him.
The Good News is that it makes no difference if it is Valentine's Day. This promise is good for every day of the year, year to year. This promise is from an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and loving God that wants a relationship with each of us.
What else does the Bible tell us about love? Romans 8:30 tells us that, "Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Now that is a love to celebrate.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: