THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY is often called Heart Month, doubtless because February 14 is Valentine's Day.
We find stores all over the country vying with one another to see which can sell the most of these symbols of love. Some of these tokens are overly sentimental, some maudlin in their demonstrative outbursts, some express a deep and tender devotion. It's good to celebrate such a day. It keeps us young and romantic. We need such occasions to warm our hearts.
But love between a man and a woman is more than red hearts, lacy valentines, candy, and poems. We know it's the greatest thing in the world. Poets have sung its praises since time eternal, and it is still an inexhaustible subject. We know love is one of the grandest attributes of God's character. God is love. To know Him is to understand as much as finite man can the meaning of love. It will be a theme to contemplate through all eternity.
We know God gave the heavenly sanctuary as a pattern for the earthly sanctuary. You remember it was divided into three parts the Most Holy Place, the holy place, and the great outer court. Just so I like to think we have a sanctuary of the heart divided into three parts.
The most holy place is for two alone a man and his soulmate, his wife. It is a most sacred place. Here is where these two can meet God and seek His blessing. No one else is to intrude in this holy of holies domain. This is where only these two can find their one heartbeat, their other self where each can draw strength and courage to go forth to meet the vicissitudes of life. It is as if they find here the secret place of the Most High. Each of us who is to stand "by his side" must guard this citadel as a precious commitment to God, who brought us together in the first place. This part of our hearts has a touch of Edenic splendor. Ours is to let no serpent enter to destroy the beauty of this sacred haven.
Then there is the holy place. I like to think of this place in our hearts as belonging to those who are part and parcel of what is dearest to us the communion of our parents, our children, all who have sweetened our lives, those dear and intimate friends who have made our lives rich in our associations. The holy place of our heart is a hallowed spot when we think of the happiness and joy that our families and dear friends have given us. The avenues of this part of our hearts must be kept ever open to receive the meaningful benefits of communion with these dear partakers of life's great blessings.
The third division of our heart's sanctuary is the great outer court. Are not those who wait here the ones whom God called us to minister to the broken-hearted, the hungry, the prisoners, the poor, the lonely, and those for whom we are called to work the world dying and needing a Saviour. How they need someone to point the way. We see these sad-faced men and women wearied with the cares of life some with burdens too heavy to carry. So, we can gather strength and love from our holy of holies, the warmth and gladsome fellow ship from our holy places, and thus be girded as we go forth to the outer court to make it a better place to live, to brighten the ugly spots, and feed the dying embers of those whose life's flames are nearly extinguished. With our heavenly Father's divine blessing and help, we can accomplish these tasks as He has asked His children to do. He wants us to cultivate the channels of our hearts and keep watch over these sanctuaries that they may become like our heavenly models.