I’ve been giving Valentines a lot of thought over the last week. It’s kind of ironic since I’m generally one who prefers to just let it pass as another day. Not because of some great aversion or post-traumatic Valentines disorder but because I’d rather not encourage my husband or my children to save their expressions of affection for one day of the year. I’d like them to know that all the nice things people tend to do on February 14th can be done at any time during the year.
However, this year I spent some time writing out little Valentines notes for the kids in my ministry area at church and thoroughly enjoyed having one time of the year to share with them how much I care about each of them individually. It gave me pause to realize that children perceive this day with almost as much excitement as Christmas because it’s a moment to celebrate love! They don’t need to do anything to earn it, it just happens and it always involves cards and little gifts. It’s the anticipation of opening something special just for them.
As I was preparing to write the cards I read through the teacher devotional for the lesson and it focused on St. Valentine. He lived during the time of Emperor Claudius and was apparently arrested for not worshiping Roman gods. Some say he was also performing Christian marriage ceremonies)…but the story says that Valentine prayed and witnessed to his jailer and through this all the jailer’s family (totally 46 people) came to know Christ. February 14th was the day that Valentine was martyred for his witness and worship of God. The devotional goes on to point out the passage in John 15:13 that no has greater love than he who will “lay down his life for his friends”. This reminder is a blessing to us and a good way to be reminded of Christ’s love for us. As part of the cards I wrote the children I found the most loving passage to put on the cards for the kids at church, but it served as a reminder to me of my significance and value…Isaiah 43: 1,2 &4:
But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
What an amazing reminder of just how much God loves us and how we can in turn love others.
This morning dawned bright and early with no particular sense of anticipation in my heart, and just to be clear no bitterness either, but a clear sense of excitement from my 7 year old and 5 year old (both of whom are great lovers of all things sentimental)…I was surprised by a wonderful man who had fabricated an early morning breakfast meeting in order to pick up a fresh cut, long-stemmed rose, a box of nice chocolates and a bag of cheap chocolates (my one indulgence)! I was blessed by the thought and the surprise. And what I loved most was that it was both for the sake of acknowledging how much I mean to him but also an intentional way of showing our children how to express love.
This day has given me a fresh perspective and although I wouldn’t classify myself as a Valetines scrooge, I will definitely acknowledge that I may have been less than enthusiastic about celebrating February 14th. From now on I will choose to be a little more thoughtful and aware of those who DO value this day as an opportunity to share unconditional love.
Now off to pick out something nice for my kiddos who WERE perhaps a little bitter that there was nothing for them to celebrate the day!