For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
Several significant observances occur in the month of February: African American History, Ground Hog Day, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents Day. And for Christians this month includes the beginning of the Lenten season. Two of these observances, Valentine’s Day and the season of Lent, highlight the importance of showing love.
Because many of us have hectic daily schedules, we do not always have the time to pause and show people that mean a great deal to us how much we love and appreciate them. Valentine’s Day is one of those occasions in the midst of our hurriedness that we remember to stop and show others how much we care about them. What a difference a box of candy, a bouquet of flowers, greeting cards, or a simple visit makes in the lives of those we love and love us as well.
The other illustration is from God our creator who loved the world and creation so much that Jesus was sent to redeem us. This love is what allowed Christ to enter the world, teach us God’s precepts, and show this love, by healing and ultimately dying to reconcile humanity to God.
During the Lenten season, we who follow Christ use the forty days before the celebration of the resurrection to take time for introspection. Some of us use this time to engage in spiritual growth practices such as tithing, fasting, Bible study, or meditating. While others may use the time of lent to cease habits that are detrimental to our well being such as negatively handling stress, or eating unhealthy to name a couple. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit so we should do all we can to take care of them.
In the passage from the Gospel of John, the writer indicates that God loves the world, and that encompasses the creation of the world and everything in it, including humanity and an atmosphere in which humans can survive. God loves creation. To show this love for humanity the Bible encourages us to care for one another, and to remain in right relationship with God. When humanity failed at that, God still loved us and provided love and grace by sending Jesus to seal our salvation.
February can be the start of some fresh new concepts, Love of God, Love of self, and Love of family. I conclude with this prayer:
Dear Lord, I pray that the month of February will be a time of transformation for us and a testimony to others who do not yet know you or your unselfish, all-encompassing love. In Jesus name I pray.