I actually enjoy and love this hallmark/FTD holiday. I didn’t used to. There was a time I loathed it or at least disliked it a bunch! About twenty five years ago I wrote a pretty cynical article for my church’s monthly newsletter. I didn’t mean it to be so down, but my first marriage was ending and I had stood in front of a row of Valentine’s and couldn’t find one to buy for my husband. It was a time of sadness and uncertainty.
I had friends who wrote me and called saying that was just not like me. And to tell the truth it was not. Valentine’s had never been my favorite holiday. Too much teenage drama back in the day, but even so, cynicism is not my style.
So I started to re-look at the holiday. It is not untruthful to claim that the florist industry and candy industry has taken it for their own. Throw in greeting cards and jewelers and the pressure to have the “perfect” love day magnifies.
The Christian tradition, however, does have its roots in love. Love of God and love of neighbor and in the words of the old camp song, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Except of course, when Christians are not known for their love, but rather for the bigotry and prejudice and for being judgemental.
So, those many years ago, I chose to re-claim Valentine’s day. I began by buying boxes upon boxes of children’s Valentines. You know the kind that come 30+ to a box and children give them to each other at Valentine Day parties at school.
And I sign them, literally now, hundreds of them. They go in the worship bulletin and we have a “love” fest at church. The first few years it surprised me how happy those little Valentine’s made people. It became clear over time, those were the only valentines some people received. It also became clear to me, that even with all the “grinching” about the day, I can’t think of one person who doesn’t want to hear they are loved.
So, in my little world, once again people will receive valentines tomorrow in worship. I will talk about love, and I will emphasize that mostly love in known through what we do, not what we say. The little things we do for one another matter and paying attention to one another can transform the world.
May love abound. May each one know that they are loved deeply by the Divine source of Love. In that love I am graced to serve.