Monday, February 14, 2011

Can a Believer Celebrate Valentine's Day or April Fool Some One?

Q: I want to ask, should we celebrate Valentine's Day? And I also want to know if April Fool is one of our celebration because my Muslim friends concluded that Christians celebrate this. I am so sad about my lack of knowledge about all of this. I hope you can help me.

A: If Valentine's day is just "a day for the exchange of tokens of affection", it is good to share the love of God with our friends, family and our dear and near ones in a special day of fellowship. If it is seen as a day to date with some one and check whether we will fit in with that person, it is not good to be emotionally attached before marriage. God's way to become one flesh in spirit, soul and body is after our marriage and not before it. The Bible says,
" 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it..." (Rom 14:5-6). In other words there is no strict yes or no to observing any day [including Valentine's day] as long as it edifies a believer's mind with the love of God, sharing and caring for each other in a positive way which will bring glory to God who has saved and redeemed us unconditionally with His love towards us in Christ Jesus.

The English has only one word for 'LOVE' and it creates much confusion in describing the exact thoughts behind expressing this word. However the Greek language has nuances out of which all the great philosophies and Biblical truths originated, it does have the exact words to describe the motivation behind love. Firstly love can be 'eros', the erotic, romantic, physical love and affection. Eros involves the emotional need which draws itself towards the physical love and affection ("beautiful expression" in general) from the one you love. It should be stirred up only between spouses within the covenant of marriage only. But perverting the eros unnaturally many people in the world try to promote 
commercially this kind of 'eros' love on Valentine's day, to draw young unmarried people in to it, which should be rejected by godly people. Secondly 'storge', meaning affinity, affection and friendship Love. It is not sexual in nature. Thirdly 'phileo', which is brotherly fondness and familial love, the love between a parent and a child. Fourthly and finally 'agape', God's self-denying or unconditional love. The first three refer to emotions which comes within us, but agape the fourth is a objective state which we attain through receiving God's love through His Spirit (Rom 5:5). It is the true love that comes only through our relationship with Jesus Christ. If ever you want to cherish love, this is the purest form of love out of which all love will attain its highest place of purity. Also if you want to celebrate Love on this Valentine day, you celebrate this 'agape' love of God out of which you will find out the meaning of what true love is in all other three emotional states within us. 

April Fools' Day is celebrated in the Western world on April 1st of every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1st is not a legal holiday. Definitely April Fool's day is widely recognized and celebrated as a day which tolerates practical jokes and general foolishness. The day is marked by the commission of good humoured or funny jokes, hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, work associates, etc. But sometimes jokes can seriously go beyond a naturally acceptable or tolerable level to make people feel bad about themselves on that day. This may hurt or even cause accidents on that day as it had happened many times in the past. This may not be good as it has totally destroyed the purpose of being happy with people around us on that particular day. In that case, it is better to say yes and no exactly to people around us than to joke and cause hurt to people around us sinfully
(Matt 5:37). So the next time you play April fool prank's on some one, make sure that you are doing it in a spirit of gentleness and good humor with out hurting them in any way. Let us not forget what Mark Twain the 19th century great writer and humourist said jokingly about ourselves. Actually he spoke about the real truth of who we really are by saying, "The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year." Yes indeed, may we all remember that the Bible also says, "A merry heart does good, like medicine...." (Prov 17:22). God enjoys us more when we laugh and "Rejoice in the Lord always..." (Phil 4:4). Your joyful and humorous words can soothe someone who is hurting around you and instead bring smile on their face. It can be your greatest testimony of the reality of Jesus in your life. Don't be too serious so as for people to think that you are too religious for them to relate with you. Be like the real Jesus who was a friend of sinners and cheaters, but yet never partook in their sinful activities (Luke 7:34).  


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