In case you’ve forgotten and your entire love life depends on it, here’s a reminder: February 14 is St Valentines Day. The traditional day for anonymous greetings of undying love, flowers, chocolates and… kissing.
The most intimate physical expression of love permitted in a public place, kissing and kisses are the symbol of deep affection between people. While kisses might represent undying love in modern western culture, that’s not always been the meaning attached to it.
Only since the notion of romantic love entered the courtly circles of the High Middle Ages has kissing carried the meaning we attach to it today. In past ages kissing and who kissed who inferred anything from the enforcement of status to pleas for mercy and forgiveness.
Magnificent Seven Big Bible Kisses
In the Bible, there are few examples of kisses being given as a response or expression of romantic love. Kisses are nearly always given as a sign of something more serious or significant. Here are seven of the most meaningful kisses in Bible history.
- Magnicent kiss No. 1: A kiss of cunning and deceit (Genesis 27:24-27) He [poor old blind Isaac] said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He [Jacob] answered, “I am.” Then Isaac said, “Bring it [a bowl of broth] to me, that I may eat and bless [give the eldest son’s birthright] you.” So Jacob brought it to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. Then his Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him.
- Magnicent kiss No. 2: A kiss of welcome and respect (Exodus 18:7) Moses went out to meet his father-in-law [Jethro] and bowed down and kissed him. And they asked each other of their welfare and went into the tent.
- Magnicent kiss No. 3: A kiss of betrayal (Luke 22:47-48) While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?
- Magnicent kiss No. 4:A kiss of farewell (Acts 20:36-38) When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
- Magnicent kiss No. 5: A kiss of forgiveness and acceptance (Luke 15:20) So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
- Magnicent kiss No. 6: A kiss of worship and adoration (Luke 7:37-38) When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
- Magnicent Kiss No. 7: A kiss of unity and holy love (2 Corinthians 13: 11-14) Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
To Kiss Or Not To Kiss?
Even today kisses can convey much more than romantic love. From a mother 'kissing better' her child's minor injury to a pledge of allegiance, a kiss is still an act of sealing a relationship. In a much more 'permissive' world than in the Biblical era, whether or not to kiss is much less and much more important question and for very different reasons. A kiss between men in English speaking cultures is rare, wheras in Latin - and more so in Arabic cultures, it is much more usual and even expected.
With a wide range of interpretations placed on giving kisses - and even more on receiving kisses, it's important to understand what's being said and what's being heard. Whether or not to kiss on the first date is perhaps less important today than it was a generation or two ago, but it's still good to know how it might be perceived - especially outside of Christian circles.
Christian Guides to Relationship, Love and Dating
If you've got St Valentine's Day love, dating and romance on your mind, then clicking the ‘Christian Books’ tab at the top of the Eden.co.uk home page, and then the underlined word love under the ‘Christian Life’ category you'll find a selection of the newest and best selling dating, courtship and relationship enriching resources.
Spend a bit of time clicking around in the list and you’ll find something that’ll help you get the best of dating relationships and marriage. But just to start you thinking, in the Quick Guide there's a brief description of a few of the recent titles that visitors to Eden.co.uk's realtionship resources have already found helpful.
Quick Guide to Love Is In The Air
- Cheerful Madness - How Eleven Couples Made It To Marriage! - by Jo Swinney: True life stories of eleven very different couples and the factors that go into finding a spouse. A delightful and entertaining read for any young couple wondering if this is the one.
- Rules of Engagement - How to plan a successful wedding & how to build a marriage that lasts - by Katherine & Richard Hill: Short, user-friendly manual encouraging engaged couples to discuss their expectations of what marriage is all about. Understanding of each other's attitudes to money, work, children, the in-laws, and potential areas of tension.
- Growing Together - A Guide for Couples Getting Married - by Andrew Body: For anyone considering marriage or already engaged. Help to develop a shared understanding of the future with discussion of key issues written in a down-to-earth style and is full of real-life examples.
- Heart Of The Five Love Languages - by Gary Chapman: People express and receive love in different ways identified in this book as the five languages of love: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Learn to speak and hear the same love language as your partner.
February 14th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison