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So all day Facebook has been lighting up with updates that have to do with Valentine’s Day. Some are quotes about love, some are friends sharing pictures of gifts received, some are comments on dinners shared. It’s been really sweet to see people sharing their feelings this way.

There is a popular thought out there that Valentine’s Day is all about selling chocolate and flowers. That real couples would be best to ignore the 14th of February, in favour of celebrating their love every day. And part of me likes that thought. I certainly like the idea of non-commercial celebrations. But (forgive me if this offends you), often I have noticed a certain smugness in those who ignore Valentines. It’s an attitude that seems to say that they have the best way figured out, and that all those who buy chocolate and flowers, bake dinners, make heart-shaped cookies, send cards, or celebrate in any way are foolish.

As a single girl, who has never once celebrated Valentine’s Day with someone special in my life, I find myself bothered by that. I would really enjoy doing something special on the 14th of February with the man I love. I hope that my future holds some of those celebrations in it. And I hope, when I do get to celebrate that way, no one will think that I need some special day in order to celebrate my love. I hope that those who know me would be able to see that it is simply something I enjoy.

(Now, before I go any further, let me say this: I am not wallowing in self-pity as a single person on Valentine’s Day. In fact, I kept forgetting it was V-Day, only to be reminded again with each new post. And I enjoyed my day immensely.)

But I will say that all the images, quotes and comments have given me a bit of a case of love-on-the-brain. I’ve been thinking about love today. What it means when it is real. How people fall in it and then fall back out of it. How some people never seem to find it and others seem to find it too often.

When I think of love – even in reaction to pink candy hearts or schmaltzy movies or red roses – part of my brain always goes to Jesus. There is a song I adore, written from the first-person perspective of Jesus and it starts off “I have always been a lover, since before I drew a breath. And somethings I’ve loved easy, and some I’ve loved to death.” (Derek Webb, Lover)

Jesus teaches us what love is supposed to look like. Not necessarily romantic love (although I believe He can teach us about that, too), but any kind of love. For friends or family or the stranger who passes you on the street.

Jesus said: “This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.” (John 15:12, MSG)

What if the whole world learned to love each other that way?

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