Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Empty Mailbox


Confession time.  I love Charlie Brown.  Even as a child, I did.  Perhaps, like many others, I felt that I could relate to underdog of sorts.  (No pun intended, Snoopy.)  Every year I would watch Charlie look in that empty mailbox for a Christmas card, or a Valentine...and nothing.  Poor Charlie.  It was so sad that he could not see how special and lovable he was.

Today is Valentine's Day.  For some reason, this year I am more aware than ever, of how many people out there that are feeling just like Charlie.  They don't have a 'special someone' to get all "hearts and flowers" over.  They feel very alone, and, like Charlie, wonder why "we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it".

Valentine's Day is all about love.  We use hearts, lace and flowers to symbolize it, but in reality, those aren't exactly the correct images to use.

History tells us that Valentine was a priest who lived in the third century.  He lived under the rule of Emperor Claudius the second.  Claudius devised an edict that young people were not allowed to be married.  He felt that soldiers fought better if they didn't have to worry about a wife and family.  Valentine thought differently, and secretly performed marriage ceremonies.  He was caught and imprisoned, and eventually, beaten, stoned and decapitated for the sake of his stand on Christian marriage.  Just before his death, he had written a letter, that was delivered to a friend's daughter. That is where the term, "from your Valentine" came about.  Hardly Hallmark material.

True love is a wonderful thing...but to believe that it is all roses and sunshine, is unrealistic.  It is hard work.  It is a day to day choice of loving someone despite the circumstances that surround us. True love involves sacrifice.  We don't think of ourselves first.  We make our choices based on what will benefit the ones we love.  This applies to the person we love, our children, or even our friends.

The book of John tells us about real True Love.  John 15:13 tells us, "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  Sacrifice.  Death.  Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice for us.  He loved us that much.  When we feel like Charlie Brown...alone and unloved...remember that.  You are unique and special and loved.  Loved enough to die for.

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