Valentine’s Day is coming up on Tuesday, which means I should remember to buy something nice for my wife. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about love.
Several activities are associated with this day such as businesses capitalizing on this occasion to sell chocolates, flowers, and fine-dining experiences, and parents scrambling to figure out what to send with their kids to school on Valentine’s Day.
However, the real joy of Valentine’s Day is to celebrate love.
According to Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Love Languages, there are — you guessed it — five love languages that people use to express and experience love: acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch.
My primary love language is quality time, so I would be happy to forgo the flowers and chocolates and just spend some quality time with my wife. She appreciates quality time, too, but I get the sense that gifts are also an important love language for her, so I really do need to go get something.
The love languages help us understand that people express and experience love in various ways. Yet, God shows us that there is one love language that is embedded into the hearts of all humanity, and that is sacrifice. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 Jn. 3:16).
We innately understand the act of sacrifice as an act of love. Indeed, it is the most significant way of expressing love. Even buying gifts is an outwardly expression of our willingness to sacrifice our own resources to benefit the other person.
Jesus loved us so much that he laid down his life for us. His sacrifice became the ultimate expression of his love, and we are called to share that sacrificial love with one another. You are so dearly loved by the Creator God of the universe, and you are empowered by his love to find ways to sacrificially love others. Love like Jesus.