Today is Valentine’s Day. Depending on your age and/or your relationship status Valentine’s Day may have more or less meaning for you. After all, I know some people who look forward to it like no other day of the year, and go all out celebrating. I know others who think it is a ridiculous holiday made up by florists, greeting card companies and candy makers. And then I have other acquaintances who prefer to call Valentine’s Day something like “Single’s Awareness Day” or even “Let’s Make it Painfully Obvious You are STILL Single Day.”
Regardless of how you feel about it or whether or not you celebrate it, though, Valentine’s Day is, traditionally, a time when cards and/or gifts are given to express affection and love. And the truth is, God sent the world a Valentine more than 2,000 years ago when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Remember the simple little Valentine cards you would get by the box to exchange with all of your friends in elementary school? When I was in school I think G.I. Joe and the Transformers were popular among the guys. Now my children get cards with Disney’s Cars or princesses. But those simple little cards–often no bigger than half of a 3×5 card, could be counted on to contain a brief message, and space to write in who the card was “to” and “from.”
John 3:16 is God’s Valentine to the world. The verse tells us who it is “to” when it says “the world,” and who it is from when it says “God so loved.” It also tells us how God demonstrated, or showed, the world His love–“He gave His only Son” (ESV). God is the Giver, the world is the recipient, and His Son, Jesus, is the Gift.
Of course, a Valentine with my name on it only becomes mine when I accept it. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that God desires that all should be saved, and His Son has paid the price of our salvation through His death on the cross…but only those who accept God’s Valentine will know salvation.
So, regardless of whether or not you have a significant other to celebrate Valentine’s Day with today, regardless of whether you wore every red article of clothing you own or you intentionally boycotted the color for today, remember the ultimate Valentine. Remember God’s gift, remember Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, and remember that it all happened because “God so loved the world.”