Valentine’s Day is a holiday that was created for the sole purpose of commerce. It was a way for greeting card companies and confectionists to fill a gap in lagging sales after the Christmas season. And even though it is a contrived holiday, it has become one in which we long for someone to invite us to be their valentine.
During elementary school, it was a tradition for us to put bags decorated with our name and hearts so that others in the class could come and contribute a valentine. Like Charlie Brown, I longed for some redhead, blonde, or brunette to choose me, and I was always careful to make sure that the best valentine went into the bag of the one my heart longed for. In our youth, we spend many days wondering if there will ever be anyone who will love us and be our special valentine. As we grow older, some of us lose sight of what it means to be a valentine.
In Ecclesiastes, the preacher reminds the young man to not forget the wife of your youth, cling to her so that you will have someone to love in your old age. Over the years, I have been amazed at couples in my congregations, some who walked away from loving partners who would have been there for them in their old age, and others, even with the shortest of courtships, have remained faithful and true to their life partners. No relationship comes without hard work, fidelity requires commitment, but the investment of ourselves in another is worth the cost.
I know of no more beautiful scene than watching a husband or a wife tend to their dying spouse. I am convinced that to have a valentine, you have to be a valentine, which means faithfulness and commitment even through life’s challenges. I received a valentine card from my girlfriend the other day. It read, “Between us … distance is no barrier for love.” I thank God for my valentine and I pray that you too had a happy Valentine’s Day.