Romantic love, the kind that makes your heart skip a beat and puts a spark in your eye, is celebrated on Valentine’s Day. Usually the person of endearment is treated to such gifts as flowers, chocolates, jewelry or fragrance, and a special dinner.
The Bible has powerful and descriptive language about romantic love, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine” Song of Solomon 1:2 NIV. This type of love is intended to be shared within the confines of a marriage covenant. Something worthy of celebrating.
But as lovely and honorable as biblical romantic love is, the Bible considers a higher unconditional love called agape love to have greater importance. Agape love, along with phileo love (love for friends) and storge love (love for family) have a tendency to be longer standing and less emotive. These are types of love behind selfless ministry and compassion for those the world considers undesirable or unlovely.
While Valentine’s Day is not a Christian holiday, it is a time when the world celebrates “love.” For those hurting people already feeling lost or unimportant this day may be hard to endure. They may be flooded with memories of lost loved ones, broken relationships, personal hardship or inadequacy. Others may struggle, too. The husband who can’t afford an expensive meal, the wife who doesn’t feel confident about her looks or the single person for whom romantic love has proven elusive. All people benefit from a time of fellowship in a setting that shows they are loved and treasured.
This year, avoid the world’s often misguided idea of love by showing the true beauty of biblical love. Hold a Celebrate Love Dinner and Dessert night and pull out all the stops. Who you invite is up to you. Make it a group of six—you and your husband and two other couples, a mix of friends, or a few lonely or lost hearts. The idea is to invite only a small group and help them feel special and loved.
Be inspired by the ideas on these pages. Use our downloadable template to create a lovely invitation to launch the mood. Set the stage for an elegant dinner party with symbolic touches that allow you to focus the evening on love in its purest sense.
Greet guests with shared toasts over flutes of our nonalcoholic Sparkling Pink Punch. Savory bites of Smoked Salmon Appetizers whet appetites and get the party started.
Anticipate accolades when you unveil an entrée of prosciutto-wrapped chicken over pasta Alfredo. Add a fresh green salad, a loaf of artisanal bread, and a fruit and cheese plate for an easy-to-prepare and delicious meal. For a grand finale, serve Raspberry Meringue Cups, a luscious way to close the meal.
YOU SEND ME
Delight your guests with an invitation that lives up to the evening to come. A clean border of gold ink and a geometric pattern on the reverse side announce your party will be one not to miss. Download the invite template then add the right amount of shimmer with metallic marker accents.
Love in the Bible
Who wrote the book of love? God—the author of love: agape, romantic or eros, phileo and storge. Here are a few verses from the Bible that teach us about love:
“For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37–39
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” 1 Peter 1:22
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.” Song of Solomon 8:6–7
This table setting begs guests to relax and be pampered. Lush pink garden roses, glittering gold accents and luxurious ribbon-trimmed napkins set an elegant tone. Cost is kept to a minimum with inexpensive drinking glasses, recycled candle holders and plastic chargers glammed up with a can of gold spray paint. The runners are strips of fabric folded to hide selvage edges and the raw ends ironed under using hem tape. Napkins are craft-store finds for under a dollar, trimmed with velvet ribbon. For extra seating, a vintage sofa with a monogrammed back is placed at the table creating a banquette look and cozy feel.
The Write Touch
Forgo traditional name cards and instead create quick-to-print notes that speak straight from the heart. Choose a phrase or verse of Scripture that reminds you of the One who loved us first and loves us best.
On the Menu
1. TO US! Toast the evening and the gift of love with our Sparkling Pink Punch. Add a sweet touch to each glass before filling by wetting the rim and twisting gently in a small saucer of pink sugar crystals.
2. APPETIZING START Baked wonton cups cradle bite-sized tastes of savory smoked salmon. Display these beauties on trays set out for guests to help themselves or on pretty individual dishes.
3. DINNER IS SERVED These prosciutto-wrapped chicken breasts are absolute showstoppers. Stuffed with goat cheese, mascarpone and herbs, they reveal their hidden seasoning when sliced and fanned over pasta ribbons tinted pink with a bit of red food coloring. Drape delectable garlic Alfredo sauce over the al dente pasta right before serving.
4. FUNCTIONAL COLOR Fascinating additions to the table, such as this dish filled with pink Himalayan salt, stir conversation while serving a culinary purpose.
Love in the Details
1. GOLD OMBRÉ Dust inexpensive glassware with gold spray paint for a quick-and-easy treatment. Mask off the glass opening and an inch or two extra so paint cannot reach where the mouth will touch the glass. Invert the glasses onto newspaper and dust with a light mist of spray paint suitable for glassware. Follow manufacturer instructions.
2. JUST DESSERTS Premade meringue cups make the final course light and easy. Lined with melted dark chocolate and filled with creamy berry mousse made in advance, you may have discovered your new signature dessert.
3. WARMING TREND Cap off the evening with mugs of hot (pink!) chocolate. Melted strawberry sherbet and milk form the base of the drink and melted white chocolate adds richness and body. Use cookie cutters to shape marshmallows into floating hearts that beg to be nibbled.
Party favors don't need to be complicated or expensive but they should give your guests a keepsake from the evening. These ring boxes with berry-hued gumballs tucked inside fit the bill. But it's the card's message that lasts the longest, letting love have the final word.
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