A Love Worth Celebrating
By Kathi Macias
February is quite a month, isn’t it? Shorter than the other eleven, it honors everything from past Presidents to groundhogs. But by far the most celebrated holiday of the month is found smack-dab in the middle of it: Valentine’s Day.
Personally, I’ve never been too enamored of the chubby little baby with the bow and arrow who flies around trying to zing people into falling in love, but the sentiment is nice. To be honest, though, the actual holiday doesn’t appear to be based on such light-hearted frivolities as exchanging chocolates and cards and jewelry. The most commonly accepted start to the holiday came—at least so far as legend tells it—by way of a beheading. It seems a Roman priest performed weddings against the Emperor’s orders and paid the ultimate price. So how did we get from someone getting his head lopped off to lace and candy and sentimental poems?
I have to believe that despite the broken hearts and lives, and even the rise and fall of kingdoms, that sometimes accompany the pursuit of love, we humans are still an optimistic bunch. We want to believe in love, and so, for the most part, we choose to do so. Having a holiday to celebrate it just adds fuel to the fire.
Yes, and it starts when we’re young. Who can forget Valentine’s Day parties at school? Believe it or not, I’m actually old enough to remember making cards from scratch—cutting them out of red construction paper, gluing lace and ribbons on them, and carefully printing out the notes and messages that went inside. By the time my kids were in school, I had long since given up on the homemade stuff and was celebrating the pre-packaged Valentine cards from the discount store. Of course, I had all boys, and they weren’t too big on doing the card exchange thing. They would have much preferred exchanging candies and forgetting the rest of the event. Until they got older, that is.
Suddenly, as they began to approach junior high age, they noticed that girls were…well, different. They smelled better than most of their guy friends, and their voices were a bit higher. They giggled a lot too, and pretended not to notice that the boys were looking at them. More than once I caught my sons scratching their heads and mumbling, “I just don’t get girls. What do they want from us?”
I cautioned them to be patient, but not to expect too much. Males much older than they were still scratching their heads and wondering the same thing! But I assured them that even if the girls didn’t respond well to the Valentine cards the boys gave them, they still wanted to receive them. (This caused more head-scratching and puzzled looks.) But they took me at my word and distributed the cards to all the girls in their class. When they came home from school at the end of the day, they showed me their own collection of cards—though they still seemed more interested in the candy.
Now I’m at the age where it’s my grandchildren exchanging Valentine cards and devouring those little candy hearts that say silly things like “Luv U” and “Be cute.” The world around us has changed dramatically during that time, but the generations are still pursuing love with optimism—even if the boys aren’t ready to admit it yet and haven’t a clue what girls want from them.
I may not be a fan of Cupid and his bow and arrow, but I am a fan of the sentiments that fuel this mid-February holiday. Why? Because we serve a God who holds the world in His hands, a God who gives us sunrise and sunset, stars and seasons and babies…to remind us of His unconditional, unchanging, unending love that is offered to each of us, if we will just reach out and take it. And that’s a love worth celebrating each and every day of the year!