Valentine’s Day is a popular day, when cards and gifts are exchanged among friends and lovers. However, Carol Harrison shows us that there is more to the day than this.
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Hearts, flowers, candy and cards give us the impression we need to purchase and give these gifts to our special someone. Maybe the teddy bears and children’s valentine’s prompt us to shower these signs of affection on the little ones in our lives. But why do we have aisles of merchandise, ads for a romantic getaway or things decorated in reds and pinks with the word love plastered on them? Why should we bother?
The Special Day Dubbed Valentines
I thought I should look into this special day dubbed Valentines. Is it really just about romantic love? Is it about children exchanging little cards with cute sayings and hoping that no one forgets to give you one?
The origins of Valentines Day are not completely clear. St Valentine was a Roman priest martyred around the middle of February and is often part of the story of the day’s beginnings. There are bits and pieces of pagan fertility and romantic love intertwined on some sites I visited.
Valentine’s Day is an Opportunity to Express Love
But one thing that most places and people agree on seems to be that Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to tell somebody that you love them in a romantic way. My father proposed to my mother on a Valentine’s Day in the early 1950’s. My oldest daughter accepted a proposal of marriage on Valentine’s Day in the 1990’s. The idea of getting engaged on Valentines Day may seem corny or romantic depending on how you view it.
This day has also been exploited by retailers advertising jewelry, candy, teddy bears, greeting cards and flowers, especially roses as ways to express your feelings of love. I love chocolate so all the delectable goodies at this time of year are tempting. Chocolate sticks to me like glue – maybe better than glue. Teddy bears are cute, even if I am a grandma now but how many of them do I really need or do my grandchildren?
A Romantic Valentine’s Day
My husband rarely buys me flowers and yet I know he loves me very much. He always told me he didn’t want to give me a gift like flowers to show his love since they die too quickly. How romantic is that? But one Valentine’s Day, a number of years ago, he brought home a mini rosebush full of beautiful little blooms. I enjoyed them while they lasted. The plant looked healthy – as much as I knew about such things since I do not have a green thumb. I continued to water it and give it the light it needed even after it no longer bloomed. I think I looked at it as a challenge to try and keep it alive.
By mother’s day in May the little rosebush had blooms decorating its foliage once again. They fell off one by one – their short life cycle finished. By my birthday in early July the plant bloomed again and continued blooming until our anniversary a month later. Wow. I had flowers on the plant for four special occasions. It bloomed again for Christmas and my husband told me it was the best few dollars he had ever spent on a gift for me. The mini rosebush kept giving and giving.
But Valentine’s Day is celebrated in different ways in other countries. In Guatemala it is a day of love and friendship. It is a time to show appreciation to family and friends. In Finland it is Friend’s Day, not focusing on romance at all. I like this idea – showing appreciation to family and friends as well as to a special person, if we have someone in our life.
The Bible talks about love and being kind to others. I John 4: 7 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” It continues in 5:1 & 2 with “Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
These are only two references about how we are to be kind, to forgive and to love one another. Showing appreciation and kindness is not a suggestion but a command for those that love God. They should never be limited to one day a year – Ephesians 5:2 says to live a life of love – to me that means daily showing we care about others.
How can we reach out and let someone know we care? How do we tell others how much they mean to us? I want to challenge each one of us – myself especially, to think of something I can do to show kindness, love, caring and appreciation. Too often I forget to simply say thank you often enough or give a smile, a hug, or offer a kind word.
Alternatives to Buying Gifts
Sometimes it is fun to buy a gift – I really do enjoy giving gifts – but finances may limit us. There might be a way to share some help, a meal or offer a ride as ways of showing appreciation. Maybe you like to be creative. Do you paint, draw, make cards or play music? Anyone of these gifts can be used to brighten the day of someone else and show that you care. Have some fun and make someone smile.
We may be going through a very tough time with health concerns or loss of someone close to us and not want to hear about one more idea to give a loved one this Valentine’s Day. Yet living a life of love, of showing appreciation can and should happen any day of the year.
How can we use Valentine’s Day to become a start of letting others know we appreciate them?
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.
Visit Carol’s website carolscorner.ca
Valentines Gift – Engin_Akyurt
Marriage Proposal – 7144605
Roses – nastya_gepp
BBQ – moerschy
Hug – AnyD