As the calendar has turned to February, and Valentine’s Day lies right in the middle of the month, the theme of love will be front and centre.

I hope that when we think about love, it is not just romance that comes to mind, but something broader. There is a love that is more universal, that leads us to care about others around us, and that draws us together in community.

Love isn’t just an idea, nor is it just a feeling. Love is also a verb – love therefore calls on us to act. And it calls on us to act in the best interest of other people. Love is also a choice – we won’t do things that are in the best interests of others unless we consciously decide to make their needs a priority.

Perhaps you’ve seen this particular new thought-provoking and impressive series of television and transit poster ads which parody pop culture shows and magazines. The tag-line of these ads asks us a very daring question: “what if we cared about those living in poverty as much as we care about celebrities?” If we were to take time to listen to the news of these real people and to empathize with their needs, love would most likely prompt us to make a difference. While these new ads are seeking to cast light on the needs of single mothers and call us to action to help them, the question it has put before us can inspire us to act lovingly and reach out in a difference-making way to whoever in our community needs an extra measure of help.

While love is in the air this month, we have a great opportunity to remind ourselves, when we think of our world, our city, and our neighbourhood, to choose love and to live it out.