"If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."
(1 Corinthians 13:1)
American retailers are so funny. Christmas marketing & advertising begin sometime in October (I can't recall the exact date, it seems to keep getting earlier and earlier). Those decorations stay up all throughout Halloween & Thanksgiving. But come December 26, the day after Christmas, many stores are already putting out their Valentine's Day displays. (sigh)
Ah, Valentine's Day! The holiday to celebrate love. But not the everyday, hard work, invest-yourself-in-the-life-of-another kind of love. No, it's more like a romanticized, Hollywoodized, hard-to-achieve, happily-ever-after kind of love. It has little to do with commitment, sacrifice, & putting the other first. And more to do with jewelry, romantic dinners, flowers, chocolates & lingerie. Oh yah, and Hallmark cards.
1 Corinthians 13 is probably THE MOST FAMOUS bible passage on love. It's definitely the most used passage from the Bible at weddings (and whatever's second is not even close!). But before Paul tells us what love actually IS (ie. patient, kind, not jealous, etc.), he tells us something else. In the first 3 verses of the chapter, Paul says that we can do the most amazing spiritual things... accomplish the greatest religious feats... but if we do it without love, it's meaningless.
Wow. Let that sink in for a minute. If we reach the greatest spiritual heights in our faith, but do so without love, it doesn't mean a thing. Period. Ouch.
We must have a spirit of LOVE in all that we do... our actions, words, endeavors, relationships, energies, etc. That should cause us to pause, and reassess how we've interacted with others today (and everyday!). It sure does for me.