For too many Valentine's Day is a lonely day. A dreaded day. A day that they would prefer to just pull the covers up over their heads and allow the festivities to come and go, as if there were no such day. In my opinion it's a day akin to Mother's Day, when expectations aren't met, leading to great disappointment of one's current circumstances in life. Now if this doesn't describe you please don't stop reading -- I do have some very positive things to say about Valentine's Day and I promise I'll get there.

It seems to me that the man made celebrations that we recognize in society tend to become, for many, 'me' focused and that's where most of us tend to get in trouble. I mention Mother's Day, right alongside of Valentine's Day, because of my own insecurities that exposed themselves for much of my Mormon mommy years. I'm now much more mature. ;)

What, might you ask, got me thinking about this? Well, earlier today I watched the newest LDS Bible video put out by the Church: The Good Samaritan -- and I found myself pondering on the subject of LOVE. Anyway, this beautiful biblical account reminded me of how I have, over the years, learned to understand what true love is, and most importantly, how to recognize it. (I know, some of you really wanted me to add "and give it" at the end of that sentence -- I hear you:)

When we find ourselves caught up in measuring how much we are loved -- especially when it's done according to the standards of the world -- we're bound to be disappointed. Instead, I think we serve ourselves, and others, much better when we look to Jesus Christ's teachings, and example, of what it means to love.

The first and great commandment is to love God and put Him first -- above all else. The second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. I truly believe that we fulfill the first commandment by keeping the second. I can't think of anywhere in the scriptures that we are taught to be concerned about how much other people love us -- only that we are to love others as God loves them and we are to do it in the way that we desire to be loved. That's a pretty interesting standard if you think about it.

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not down on Valentine's Day. In fact, I quite love it. My only concern is for those who struggle with these types of recognition days, as I have, and to help us all better focus on what it means to genuinely love versus focusing on the romantic kind of love that is marketed at every turn.

Thoughts on how we might better focus on the true meaning of LOVE to associate with Valentine's Day:

RED:  I love the color red for its symbolism.  Red is a color not only of a rose, but more importantly, and most important --  BLOOD.

The Greatest Sacrifice of all required the loss of every single pure drop of blood that Jesus Christ had to offer. The process of the Atonement began in Gethsemane and was completed on the cross at Calvary when He said "It is finished" -- the true three most important words ever uttered!

"Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends."

HEARTS:  We all love hearts and the symbolism of love, for another, associated with the sharing of this symbol.  Hearts bring us back to blood and the necessity of that life giving substance, here and now, in order to create and maintain life -- our relationships.

The giving of blood, literally, requires sacrifice.  Releasing blood, of any amount, causes pain. For women who give birth, and who menstruate monthly for a great duration of their lives, this sacrifice is well understood. To the men and women who have valiantly fought battles, and lost life, for our protection and freedoms, we are forever indebted. Taking a minute to contemplate that true sacrifice means a willingness to give up life, or blood, helps us to focus on the truest meaning of what it means to love and be loved -- the symbol of the heart.

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

ROSES: A single red rose is symbolic of all of the above and serves as a reminder of the fragility of life, its Source and the pain (thorns) associated with the price of the Greatest Love of All -- of which springs forth the love which He desires that we all develop.

"A new commandments I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. "

This Valentine's Day instead of thinking about how much we are loved, by others, maybe we could focus on what it means to truly love others, as He loves us. Perhaps by doing something, however small, it will be meaningful for someone who might have doubts about their great worth. In this small way we emulate Him and become LOVE.
"Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way towards becoming like Him, our perfect example. Our way of life, hour by hour, must be filled with the love of God and love for others." Henry B. Erying
I'd love to hear your thoughts about Valentine's Day and how you might add to mine here. I realize that I have only scratched the surface on these ideas, so let's hear some of yours...

Kathryn Skaggs

Some LOVE resources for you - 

Wish I knew who to give credit for this, but I had to share. It's my absolute favorite verse in all of scripture:

From Stephanie over at Diapers and Divinity:

"I wanted to share with you what I like to give as a wedding gift when an LDS couple gets married. I put together this FHE manual for newlyweds, a collection of talks and articles about topics that are important for married couples to study and discuss and understand. There are some really great talks in there!"

 A little humor from Middle-Aged Mormon Man:

Love and Diet Coke
"When I asked for questions a while ago, someone named Anonymous asked me "How about a post about intimacy in marriage?" Yikes. Do I want to go there? I think not. Yes, tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and it is an important topic, but I am not a therapist, and wouldn't feel comfortable writing about it."

Jocelyn over at We Talk of Christ We Rejoice in Christ had to give a talk about marriage in Church.  Here are her great notes:

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
"It was unique and special to me for a few reasons: a. I received special insights while studying. b. It gave me the opportunity to solidify what I know and believe about the covenant and purpose of eternal marriage. c. It is also one of the only times in my life that I have prepared thoroughly to speak and still walked up to the stand without a clue as to what was actually going to come out of my mouth. You'd better believe I was praying."

Scriptures On Love:
Source: Guide to the Scriptures

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