Valentine’s Day is an interesting holiday. It is supposed to be about “true” love, but often seems like it is more about buying flowers and candy at the last minute so someone won’t get angry. Often love is left entirely out of the equation.
Your children are going to see, hear and read a lot of confusing messages about love during their lifetimes. It is critical that they are able to filter all of those messages through God’s definition of love. You can start by having a fun family devotional about love.
Call your family together and start by asking them to name someone they love. Depending upon their ages, they may mention a family member, a friend or someone they like romantically. Then ask them to name someone who loves them. Ask them to explain the ways they know that the person loves them. After they have all shared, ask them to name other ways people can show they love someone.
Explain that in the primary language in which the New Testament was written, there are actually several words for love. One word represents brotherly love, like that they may have for a friend. Another word stands for romantic love. A third word, agape, is the Greek word used for the love God has for us and God wants us to have for Him and for other people.
Agape love is considered the highest form of love. It is a sacrificial love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstances. Some refer to it as unconditional love. It is like the love you have for them. You might not like some of the choices they make, but you will always love them and want what is best for them.
Love is an abstract topic that is hard for anyone to understand – especially children who are still concrete thinkers. Thankfully God has given us lots of scriptures to paint a clearer picture of agape love. Read 1 Corinthians 13 (preferably in an NIrV version to make it easier to understand). Ask your children to list some of the ways love is described in this chapter. Can they think of a real life example of someone doing that to show love for someone else? What about a time they have shown someone love by doing each of those things?
Now for the fun part. Ask your children to name someone who may not feel very loved at the moment. What are some things your family can do to make them feel loved? Your family may decide to put a lot of effort into making one person feel loved or do something smaller for several people.
You may even want to introduce your children to the five love languages – physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time and gifts. Ask them to name their two favorite languages. Which love languages would mean the most to the person or people you have decided to show your love? How can your family love them in those ways?
You can easily extend this devotional by periodically looking at other scriptures about love and seeing what additional information you can learn from them. Discuss various Bible stories and how the people in them did or did not show love for God and the other people in the story. It is easy to make love a part of any family devotional. Make sure that each time you discuss love, your family also does something active to show love to someone. Make love part of who your family is at its core.