The month of love and romance has arrived.
In B.C., the celebration of Family Day is becoming more common.
Canada has welcomed Syrian refugees and more are knocking on our doors, asking to get in.
Most of them fall into the family class and are settling in well, though a few have made headlines for getting in trouble with the law.
A 4,000-year-old love story tells how a young Syrian bride was wooed and won by the lover of her soul and how their entwined life was lived happily ever after.
In the Bible, Genesis 23 records the death of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, after which the latter mourned and wept.
The poor old man broke down utterly after their conjugal life of 50 years came to an end.
But soon, in the loneliness of his camp, it was time for him to plan about getting a wife for his son, Isaac.
It should have been easy enough for an heir to a great estate. There were doubtless plenty of nice girls from which to choose in the households of chiefs of Canaan.
Yes, but the question of religion arose and, for Abraham, that was the supreme thing. He got his servant, Eliezer, to promise that he would not arrange matchmaking for Isaac’s future wife with a Canaanite girl.
Would that all Christian parents of marriageable sons and daughter, be so particular to oversee their wards’ marriage.
Isn’t it true that it is one of the last questions of some Christian parents today: “Will the girl that my boy is choosing help him upward to a noble life?” Or “Is the man who is marrying my daughter the man to help her closer to her God?”
When a father sees in later years the rich, unhappy marriage of his girl who has “done well for herself” and when he sees his son, who was a good religious boy in his youth, growing worldly and careless through the influence of a careless wife, don’t you think he sometimes thinks it was a miserable bargain?
I think it was Herbert Spencer who pointed out that the first beauty that attracts us in a woman is beauty of face and form.
Afterwards, we notice her beauty of mind. Last of all, on further acquaintance, we find out her beauty of character.
But, as he truly said, their value is in the inverse order. As years go by, the pretty face may change and the cleverness and brightness may degenerate into shrewishness.
However, right on to old age, the attraction of the beautiful soul remains and the dear old face is growing dearer and lovelier even to the end.
When Isaac’s future wife, Rebecca, met her lover for the first time, what was he doing?
Was it not a beautiful beginning for their life together that the first sight she got of her future husband was when he was at his evening meditation in the field?
When we remember what Isaac was and the holy household he had been brought up in, we may easily believe they were holy meditations about God, as well as the young bride that God was bringing into his life.
The man had been brought up in that practical faith — not of religious talk but of self-sacrifice, whose faith was so much a part of his life that even on the day he was expecting his bride, he did not miss out his devotional time with God.
Blessed is the home where faith is thus real.
Blessed is the bride who goes to such a home.
It is the fashion of the modern society to make light of this.
There are marriages that are sad failures, where in a few years the high hopes and enthusiasm of the wedding day have faded into the dullness of a married life — flat, stale and unprofitable.
But there are also many marriages, thank God, in which the two remain lovers all their lives long.
For all that, it is not true that marriage is a lottery — there are reasons for this difference.
True love goes a long way, but it does not go all the way.
We need faith and high ideals. We need God.
When two young people not only love each other truly, but are also hand-in-hand seeking God’s best together, there and there only is the certainty of a happy marriage.
Now, what about the older people who have established homes of their own, with wife or children or friends by which to be influenced?
There is still time to go back for your model to the old-world home in Canaan of Abraham and Sarah or Isaac and Rebecca, in spite of their faults.
Let them resolve this day, God helping them, that family prayer shall begin, that the children shall see that with all your faults, you are honestly caring to live for God.
Let there be an effort after a holy home and be together in that effort — husband and wife.
Help each other and pray for one another.
There is no such union of hearts as in that home where husband and wife are each thinking of the other’s spiritual good and asking for it from God as the highest boon on earth.
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