17 February 2014

Valentine's Day - A Day to Celebrate God Within Us

Valentine's day has always been a favorite day for me.  What a beautiful day to celebrate love.  I think this was set in motion in my childhood.  My father was big on Valentine's Day.   He was a romantic, and would send my mom flowers.  It was a given.  I remember coming home from school with expectations of seeing what kind of flowers my mom got each year.  Always red (my dad's favorite color).  Roses, antheriums, gladiolas, tulips.  There were also presents for us.  My father was a pharmacist, within a larger store equivalent to say, a Walmart.  So he would come home with heart-shaped boxes of candy for each of us kids, along with little stuffed animals, mugs, whatever caught his eye.  Pre-Valentine's day, there were valentine's to choose to give to our classmates.  And I'd come home with my brown lunch bag decorated with pink and red construction paper hearts (of course) packed full of those little valentines from my classmates.  Fun times.

And I still love Valentine's day.   On Valentine's Day morning, during my prayer time, I was thinking about the concept of "God is Love".  And with all the preparation for Valentine's Day and talk about love, I started thinking about this day of love and how it ties in with God.  And so here it is.  Valentine's day is a day that we celebrate love.  And since God is love, and Christ is love incarnate, this beautiful day takes on new meaning.  Now stay with me and think about it.

What happens when Valentine's day approaches?  We head over to the store to buy our valentine cards...or we bring out the paper and pens and create our own.  We think of our loved ones regardless of their shortcomings.  I mean, if you purchase your cards, you read through the messages to find the one that best suits your love.  From sappy to funny, they all focus on the good qualities not the bad.  For that one day, we don't focus on the fact that the lightbulbs didn't get replaced, or the trash didn't get taken out, or that I leave shoes all over the house wherever I take them off.  We focus on the best in one another.  We accept one another's shortcoming and we appreciate what we do have together.  Right?

Isn't that what God does?  He understands that we are not perfect.  He accepts us with all our flaws and quirks and loves us unconditionally.  He is there for us always, whether we take the time to acknowledge Him or not, and he doesn't care if the dishes didn't get done.  And though, I'm sure He doesn't like us sometimes, He loves us ALWAYS!

And then what about the candy?  Life is sweet.  God gives us that sweetness.  The sweetness of love, the innocence of children, the ability to love.  As God is love, and we are created by God, we are created with the ability to love one another.  That love factor is implanted in each and every one of us.  It's part of our genetic make up ingrained in each of us.  But just like the God-given talents that each of us possess, it's up to us to nurture those talents and build them up. The same is true of love.  In other words, we have the tremendous capacity to love one another, and to embrace one another for the unique individuals that we are, but it takes practice?  Are we looking at the glass as half empty? or half full?  Are focusing on our loved one's faults or are we seeing them as beautiful as is?  That's the hard part, right?

And then there are the Valentine flowers.  Take a look at those flowers.  Colorful, beautiful, delicate and
intricate.  Have you ever tried mixing colors to paint a flower, or anything in nature for that matter.  The sunset, the sunrise?  It's not just "out of the tube" color.  It's a mixture.  If you're looking at a red rose. The color is not just Alizarian crimson or scarlet lake.  There are all kinds of colors within those shadows and highlights.  There is beauty in the highlights and the shadows.  Just like there are lessns to be learned during our dark days and the light happy ones.  The love that God has for us, and instills in us...and ability to see the beauty around us, are all put there by God. We delight in that beauty. The colors, the fragrances, the way it all fits together to make our lives that much more pleasurable.  Even when our days get a little cloudy, or downright dark, the beauty is still there if we can only see beyond the darkness and look toward the light within.  Because God is always there.  Love is always there.

In searching for quote on love, I came across this quote by John Lennon:
                            "We need to learn to love ourselves first in all our glory and imperfections.  
                            If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others 
                            or our potential to create."\
I glossed over this quote at first.  What didn't appeal to me was the part about loving ourselves. Self love.  It kind of comes off as being proud, boastful, conceited.  Right?  But it's not that at all.  I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately.  A lot of writing about the little things that make me tick.  And one of my biggest problems has been my lack of self-acceptance.  "Love ourselves first in all our glory and imperfections" it says.  That's a tough one.  But I am so much more than my "parts", you know?  We can learn to love ourselves imperfectly.  Simply as being God's creation with a capacity to love and radiate His divine love and light to others.  When we can put aside our own failings...our own flaws and shortcomings and just accept ourselves - love ourselves - we can then throw away the self-absorbed negative speak that goes on inside us and understand that we are all part of God's creation, no better or worse than anyone else,  we can then focus on accepting others as they are, and creating a beautiful and sweet world for all.  A world where we see the beauty of God's love in each person and open up our hearts and minds to spreading that love and kindness to others.  Here's another nice quote I came across.

So what are your thoughts on this?  I love Valentine's day.  It's a day of love...and therefore it's a day of God.  It's a chance for us to look beyond the petty - as God does.
                       To see the potential and beauty in our loved ones - as God does.
                                   And to love one another unconditionally and to celebrate God within us,
                                               and give thanks for the love and beauty around us!

I hope you all had a beautiful Valentine's day and that you carry the message of love and beauty forward everyday.

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