Is it Valentine's Day or simply February 14th?
I have a photo I took on a major Houston freeway that says, "Until further notice, celebrate everything." With so much negativity and pain in our world and personal lives, the need to focus on celebrating the positive and good seems more critical than ever.
It's always a good idea to celebrate love.
Valentine's Day comes around each year. In recent years, with social media and our self-imposed freedom to talk a little louder, this holiday has become quite a hot topic. As pink and red everything and all the chocolate, candy word hearts, and flowers are made available, money is spent, opinions are shared, comparisons are made, hopes are dashed, tears are shed, joy is found, expectations are met or exceeded, and often, expectations are profoundly unsatisfied. And then, on February 15th, we find ourselves either basking in the glow or wallowing in the sorrow. (It's not a bad time to go scoop up some clearance chocolates, though.)
Before my kids grew and flew, I made much of an "ado" on Valentine's Day. I found it so fun to wake them up to heart-shaped pink tie-dye pancakes, fresh strawberries, pink milk, and a packed lunch where they would later find heart-shaped PB&J's (with no crust!!) and all the red and pink goodies in their lunch boxes—bonus points for heart-shaped pepperonis on pizza for dinner; especially since our budget didn't allow for pizza all that often. It is a special memory of motherhood for me. I have now watched my grown children do the same for their children. It can all be so much fun, and doing something special for someone doesn't hurt. The smile on my grandkid's sleepy-eyed faces when they wake up to fun treats brings me so much joy.
Years ago, my husband and I decided we would not participate in the commercial chaos that Valentine's Day. It has generally felt like a setup for unmet expectations.
Through the years of brokenness in my marriage, Valentine's Day has historically been somewhat of a trauma trigger. I've cried through several and have spent several Valentine's Days not basking in the glow. But I have the choice to not wallow in sorrow either.
Valentine's Day can also simply be February 14th. It's a day not unlike all the others that the Lord has made. It's a day we can make our own choice as to how we spend our 24 hours. It can look like a date out, or like a night at home in our PJs with fresh flowers we bought for ourselves. It can look like a pizza with heart-shaped pepperonis and garner a sappy post on social media. Even if it's a season of sorrow, can we choose to celebrate the joy Christ has for us and the joy He gives to others?
If social media, shopping the aisles with all things red and pink, and Hallmark movies are triggers for you, care for yourself well by doing what you can to avoid them.
When Daniel served the king, the servants were allotted much royal food each day. A treat, right? Not for Daniel. He "resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine." (Daniel 1:8 NIV) Daniel knew what was best for him. He had a plan. Think ahead and work out what you have the capacity for. Work out what you can do to celebrate love and not wallow in sorrow. Maybe it's steering clear of all the places where Valentine's Day commercialism is, but perhaps it's "liking" that picture of your sweet friends who had a lovely time together on a day that is called Valentine's Day but is also simply February 14th.
Either way, it's a day of the year that God created and calls us to love one another, just as we are called to do every other day.
Yes, it is most definitely okay to celebrate Valentine's Day. It's also very much okay not to. Can we approach February 14th with a "c'est la vie" attitude and allow each other to celebrate love in whatever capacity we can?
Until further notice, celebrate everything, especially love! It's always a good idea to celebrate love.
Music Video: Love Can Break Your Fall, Jody McBrayer