Valentines, chocolates, red roses in a lovely vase—all these things say “I love you” on Valentine’s Day. But there’s more to love, isn’t there? I guess I’ve been tuned in to the variety of ways love is expressed since the years when I was single and didn’t have a special valentine. How is love expressed in the world? Let me count the ways.
A little two-year-old stops playing with her tea set and races to the door when the doorbell rings because she knows it might be her mom coming to get her. That’s love.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you (Mark 10:51-52).” That’s love.
A badly injured dog struggles to walk across the room at the veterinary clinic where she is fighting for her life to lay her head on the shoulder of her worried owner. That’s love.
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk (John 5:8).” That’s love.
Two women who normally attend an assisted living Bible study are conspicuously absent. The leader learns one of the women isn’t feeling well and the other wants to sit with her. That’s love.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11).” That’s love.
A brand new mom gazes amazed into the eyes of her newborn son during the “getting to know you” stage of their lifelong relationship. That’s love.
“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Mark 2:17).” That’s love.
A homeless man divides a roll he was given with hands wearing holey mittens and gives half to his homeless friend next to him. That’s love.
“For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17).” That’s love.
A woman with a houseful of kids to feed takes the time to make some soup for the elderly neighbor next door who is ailing. That’s love.
Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace (Luke 7:50).” That’s love.
A husband visits his wife in a care facility every day even though she no longer remembers him or their 60-year marriage. That’s love.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin (John 8:10-11).” That’s love.
A woman who recently lost her husband comes home to find that her family has beautifully decorated her home and yard for the Christmas season. That’s love.
“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).” That’s love.
A weary mom volunteers for extra carpool duty because she knows her friend is going through a hard time. That’s love.
In 1 John 4:19 we read, We love because he first loved us. That’s the kind of love we can see in our world when we look for it—the kind of love worth celebrating on Valentine’s Day and every day.