Written by Matthew Laney
"For it is God who gave us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." - 2 Corinthians 4:6
As a kid, my first heartfelt Valentine message was a snowball.
I had already spent years carelessly scribbling my name on the store-bought valentines for obligatory distribution in my class, like everyone did. Each of those little cards carried the same emotional weight of almost nothing.
But on February 14 of my twelfth year, I planned to make a move on someone I actually liked. Holly kinda sorta knew I existed and what better time than Valentine's Day to make my affections plain and obvious? So I lobbed a snowball at her back as she walked home school because few things express love like a fast-moving, hard-packed lump of snow and ice. For some reason, she turned around at the exact wrong moment and caught the snowball with her face. Tears and swelling ensued.
I'm pretty sure Holly has forgotten all about this event (just to be safe, please do not share this with anyone in their mid-40s named Holly). As for me, the experience proved that I had about as much romantic sense in the sixth grade as my lunch box. It also gave me waves of anxiety every V-Day since then. What if I blow it that badly again! Silly but true.
We can all be grateful that God does not blast us in the face to get our attention. God knows assault is not the best way to show up and begin a lasting, loving relationship. Instead, God closed the gap by revealing God's heart through the face of Jesus Christ. It was a message of divine warmth and tenderness wrapped in human flesh.
God, thanks for letting me know you exist through the Jesus Valentine. I'm all yours. Be mine.
Matthew Laney is the Senior Minister of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC, in Hartford, Connecticut.