by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
Many years ago, as a child, I enjoyed Valentine’s Day as a celebration of affection and creativity. I can remember our class decorating a box large enough to contain the missives we made for each other and the teacher, carefully addressed to those who were especially favored. Nothing store bought here, it was probably part of our art lessons beforehand. Of course, the really popular boys and girls received the most valentines – the ones designed and made very carefully, some even by secret admirers. I still remember the boy in my third grade class on whom I had a crush. His name was Donald. A classroom picture is one of the few mementos I have from grade school, except for a couple of report cards. I can still pick Donald out. He was taller than most of the other boys and handsomer.
Times have changed, of course, and traditions as well. But, I still feel the urge to send valentines the second week of February. There’s enough time to post some through the mail, and of course the option to send love notes electronically is much faster. I hope you’ll join me in spending some time creating your own messages and sending them, or even delivering them personally.
For instance I’ve bought boxes of Girl Scout cookies for my three closest neighbors to which I’ll attach a little greeting, hopefully something that allows me to share my gratitude for their watchful care of my property, especially when I’m away on a trip. My grandkids come to mind – the seven who are already adults and the five who are still considered kids. I’ll aim for a brief message of love specific to each of them on their respective life journeys.
Perhaps I’ll find a way to briefly share the story of Bishop Valentine for whom this holiday is named. An early Christian, it’s believed he gave up his life rather than deny his faith. Or, I may prayerfully choose a phrase or verse from Scripture that speaks of God’s great expression of love in sending Jesus to this world.
If you’re head of a household that still has children in it, please plan a corporate Valentine’s Day project. Grandparents come to mind. Public service people, too. Homemade cookies and cards dropped off at fire or police stations near you. Something nice for teachers, pastors, and librarians would apply here. Be prepared with goodies and a message in paper bags, ready to give to homeless people you drive by regularly on the way to school or work. Shop keepers in ethnic stores where the products or services represent cultures outside your own – restaurants, nail salons, gas stations are some examples.
These ideas are mainly to ‘prime the pump’ for a time when you meet together and decide what your family can do this coming week. Please don’t forget that intercession for others, especially those in grave need, is a kind of valentine. Many, many children around the world will not get even basic needs met, much less valentine messages. While you may not be able to send them something tangible, you can agree with God in prayer that their neediness for love is worthy of human compassion. Why not ask our loving Heavenly Father to send someone close at hand to them with such a message? Pray on!
We love each other because (God) loved us first. 1 John 4:19