Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thoughts on Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day

Easter is early this year. It seems like we just celebrated Christmas, the time of the year where we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus, and now it's immediately the time of year where we celebrate why He came into our world. The timing of it this year, though it's about as early as it can be, could not be more appropriate.

Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the day right after Fat Tuesday, is the day in which we remember it is from dust we have come from, and it is to dust we will return. That according to Genesis 3:19, where Adam, the federal head of the human race and his wife Eve have sinned against God, and corruption was brought upon us. God however did not leave us hopeless. In the verses leading up to this, the Messiah, the Savior, is promised.

God loved His creation. Mankind was made in His image. It was God who breathed life into man, so that He became a living being. God, our Creator and life giver, was not about to leave us abandoned.

And so it is that Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this season of Lent, where we reflect on the lengths that Christ, the very Son of God, fully God and fully man, came into this world and out of love suffered one of the most brutal deaths ever devised at the hands of one of the most powerful empires the world has ever known.

This year it just happens to come before Valentine's Day.

For those that know me well, you know that I hate Valentine's Day. In case you're scratching your head about this, for the sake of clarification, I do not hate love, nor do I hate expressions of said love. Valentine's Day however in my opinion is an artificial expression of the greatest gift bestowed on us by God, where cards and flowers and candies and romantic getaways are given, in my experience, out of obligation more than anything else. I am not trying to say that all expressions of love don't have true, genuine emotion attached to them, but that's part of what makes me upset is that love gets reduced to an emotion, a feeling, a warm fuzzy thing.

I love my wife dearly. She is my partner in life, my lover, my absolute best friend, and there is nothing in the world that I would not do for her. That is, I don't give her any Valentine's Day gifts. She has never once received one from me. My love for my wife cannot be reduced to one day a year where I am expected to do something. That's not the way I was made. Rather, I express my love for my wife every day I am with her. I may not always have those warm fuzzy feelings of euphoria around her, but true love doesn't require that. Yes, feelings do become involved, but love is more of a choice. I choose to love my wife. I choose to love her every day.

Christ made the choice to love us to the point where He did not endure cards or candies or roses. Instead He took on thorns, and nails, and a cross, punishment that if God did not love us we would have to endure with no hope of having a restored relationship.

So though I do not appreciate Valentine's Day, I am at least happy that this year it comes during a time when real, unconditional love was shown to us.

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