It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the stars, garland, and snowflakes come off the store shelves to make way for hearts, cupids, and flowers. Valentine’s Day is almost here, and I am – once again – approaching the “holiday” with the same reservations as I normally do. Now, of course, what girl doesn’t like to be especially showered with love in the form of chocolate, dinner out, flowers, heartfelt messages in a card, the list goes on…
My battle is, I think, a very common one in that it is against the commercialism of this particular holiday. A huge part of me wants to defy the holiday in its entirety and make the claim that for my husband and I Valentine’s Day is every day! Do you believe that? Okay, so maybe not every day, but my point is that we try to have special times just for us regularly throughout the year – yes, even with a toddler. If you can manage to find a babysitter (especially a family member who will babysit for free), take a few hours and do some shopping together, dinner out, a movie, a cup of coffee, dessert, or just a drive. If you can’t find or pay for a sitter, get creative and have a date night in. Feed your children, put them to bed and order take in or send the hubby out for curbside. Or, just plan to do dessert together – homemade chocolate cream pie, chocolate chip cookies, or just a bag of your favorite candy. Then start a movie you’ve wanted to watch that you DVR’d three weeks ago, or something on demand or pay-per-view. Very cheap, and yet meaningful time spent together. Suddenly, you and your spouse are “celebrating Valentine’s Day” a few times and year, once a month, or maybe even once a week. That’s a whole lot more special than one commercialized day out of the year.
As ideal as this all sounds, sometimes a woman feels guilty for leaving her children with a sitter (even if it is a family member) or not eating a meal with them so that Mommy and Daddy can have a special meal later. Let me share something that I read just recently that will hopefully divulge any feelings of guilt that you may have. Sharon Jaynes writes in Becoming the Woman of His Dreams,
“A mother should never feel guilty for putting her husband before her children. Giving them the security of knowing that their parents love each other is one of the best gifts she can give them in the long run… The more intertwined the lives, the stronger the cord will be.”
I say all this, and yet, a part of me still has a desire to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my husband… and even my son! How do you do it without making it just another holiday to exchange gifts and eat lots of food that we shouldn’t? Give it a gospel-centered meaning. God’s Word speaks so much of love, why not take a day to study, talk about, and celebrate God’s great love in fun, creative ways? This is a great time of year to reflect on and remind ourselves of what we celebrated at Christmas time and what we will reflect on and celebrate in the coming Easter season. One thought I had was to read and study, as a family, 1 John 4:7-21.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:7-12)
Valentine’s Day is worth redeeming. It’s too great of an opportunity to not talk about love with our children and give them a real understanding of the greatest love of all. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t exchange valentines, do cute little crafts, have a fun valentine-themed meal together, or eat a little bit of chocolate; just do it all with a redeeming, gospel-centered purpose.
So, what to do with Valentine’s Day? Glorify God by making it all about Him, thanking Him for His love, the sacrificial love of our Savior, and – out of gratitude – expressing our love toward others.
Have a happy Monday!
~ Carrie ~