By Connie M Edwards, Member of Bethel Christian Writers Group
February is Valentine's month! Who doesn’t love a sweet valentine, frosted cupcakes, and melt-in-your-mouth candy? Valentines warm us with expressions of love, and it couldn’t come at a better time than during the doldrums of winter—especially this year compounded by the restrictions of a pandemic.
Crafty ideas like making homemade valentines and heart-shaped cookies can add to the fun. Plan your favorite activity or grab an idea from the internet. And don’t forget the little candy hearts stamped with ‘Be Mine’ ‘Love You’ ‘Hug Me’.
Because we celebrate love during Valentine's month, I want to dig deeper into matters of the heart.
Love is not a human concept—it comes from the very heart of God.
John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
We commemorate God’s phenomenal love with celebrations of Jesus’ birth on Christmas and His resurrection on Easter. Now, you might ask, what does that have to do with Valentine’s Day? Ignoring the myths of its origin, I like to think of it as a day to rejoice for the time between those important events, when Jesus lived on earth and took the time to teach people about genuine, unconditional, love.
In much the same way, we love our children and are tasked with teaching them how to love. So where do we turn to learn the truth about love?
The Bible—God’s Word—Truth.
What is Love Exactly?
We find a great list of what love is in I Corinthians 13:4-8a
- Love is patient
- Love is kind
- Love does not envy
- Love does not boast
- Love is not proud
- Love does not dishonor others
- Love is not self-seeking
- Love is not easily angered
- Love keeps no record of wrongs
- Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
- Love always protects
- Love always trusts
- Love always hopes
- Love always perseveres
- Love never fails
Genuine, unconditional, love is intentional. Adults and children alike need to practice love, and every person is unique in their understanding of what that is. Once you understand what your child responds to, and what makes them feel loved, you can more effectively give love to your children—each in their own style and language of love—and teach them how to give and receive love.
Fortunately, many good Christian resources are available to help you. Here are two good reads I like.
A book for parents. The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D. The authors describe five practical ways to communicate love.
- Physical Touch
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
A book for young children. What Love Looks Like: Inspired by The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman (Created to Be). Written and illustrated by Nikki Roger. In this children’s book, Nikki uses beautiful illustrations and descriptions to show children how to express love.
Start early—why wait until February 14th? As you sink your teeth into a frosted cupcake, celebrate your love for one another. Pull your little one into a hug, say ‘I love you’, plant a kiss on a rosy cheek, patiently read them a story—even if you’re tired, give them a gift, push them on a swing, and don’t get angry as you wipe up their spilled milk. Watch them thrive as you fill their hearts with your love and the knowledge of God’s love.