When I was in grade school, Valentine’s Day was fraught with excitement. Would the boy I secretly liked give me a special valentine or even one at all? Would there be little candy hearts with curious messages? Who would get the most valentines?
Back then, it wasn’t an “everybody wins” environment. Oh no. We dutifully covered old shoe boxes with tissue paper and red and white doily hearts, printing our names for all to see. If we were lucky, a respectable number of red-flocked valentine messages declaring “like” or “love” would be pushed through the rectangular slot cut out in the lid of the shoebox during the afternoon class party. The brave peeked with trusted friends after school, while the less confident took their fancy shoeboxes home, sat on the edge of the bed, and only then gingerly lifted the box lid to reveal what treasures were inside.
Today Valentine’s Day still stirs excitement in children, while the hearts of adults are sometimes filled with trepidation. What is she expecting? Will he be disappointed? Flowers on the most expensive day of the year? How can I make it romantic? What should I wear? I’ve gained another 10 pounds! Personally, I’ve made it easy for my husband. I tell him I’d rather get “surprise” flowers once in a while throughout the year (the grocery store variety are just fine), and I let him off the hook for Valentine’s Day. Knowing you’re loved every day beats a one-day extravaganza to my way of thinking. Every day Valentine’s Day? Yes, in theory—without all the angst and hoopla.
When it comes to love, we can find questionable “advice” everywhere. Do you recall the priest conducting the never-meant-to-be wedding in “The Princess Bride?” “Love—trwuuuuuw love?” We are bombarded with versions of love from the sublime to the ridiculous in literature, music and media. But I suspect the best description of what real love looks like still comes from the well-known passage of 1 Corinthians 13. Poetic and powerful, eloquent and true—that’s a nutshell review of the Love Chapter. It simply stands the test of time and is worth a read and a re-read, and not just at weddings.
In fact, I challenge you to show yourself some love and read all 13 verses of 1 Corinthians 13 every day this month. Something different will reveal itself each time through, as God speaks to your heart. And whether the month of March comes at you like a lion or a lamb in your life, you will be better prepared to face the challenges it brings. This year give yourself a lasting valentine. “Love never fails!”