I have a picture that says, “Until further notice, celebrate everything.” With so much negative in our world and in our personal lives, I’m finding it more crucial than ever to focus on celebrating the positive. 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 the 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.
Before my kids grew and flew, I made much of an “ado” on Valentine’s Day. I found it so much fun for them to wake up to heart-shaped pink and red tie dye pancakes, fresh strawberries, pink milk, and a packed lunch that 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 pepperoni on pizza for dinner. The budget didn’t allow for pizza all that often. It is a special motherhood memory for me. I have watched my grown daughter do the same for her son. It can all be so much fun and it doesn’t hurt a thing to take some extra time to do something special for someone. The smile on my grandson’s sleepy-eyed face with his pink pancakes is priceless.
Years ago, my husband and I made the decision we would not participate in the commercial chaos that Valentine’s Day. At least not for each other. It always felt like a big set up for unmet expectations for me. We almost always had a weekly date night and we never ever ever went out on Valentine’s Day. Not because we didn’t want to celebrate but because it’s nutso to be out that night – if you can even get reservations anywhere.
Through the years of brokenness in my marriage, Valentine’s Day has become somewhat of a trauma trigger for me. I’ve cried through several and I will undoubtedly spend this Valentine’s Day not basking in the glow. But I choose not to wallow in sorrow either.
Friends, Valentine’s Day is also just February 14th. It’s a day; not unlike all the others that God created. One where we all make our own choice as to how we spend the 24 hours we are given. It can look like a date, it can look like a night at home in our PJ’s. It can look like a pizza with heart-shaped pepperoni’s. It can also garner a sappy sweet post on social media. Even if it’s a sad season for us, can we choose to celebrate in the joy of others?
If social media, shopping the aisles with all things red and pink, and Hallmark movies are triggers for you, do yourself a huge favor and care for yourself well by doing what you can to avoid them.
When Daniel was in service to the king, the servants were allotted so 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 can handle or not handle. 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 has thrown up all over it but maybe it’s “liking” that picture of the sweet friends you know who had a nice time together on a day that is called Valentine’s Day but is also just February 14th. A day of the year that God created and calls us to love one another, just as we are called to do on every other day of the year.
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 at whatever capacity we are able?
It’s always a good idea to celebrate love.
“And don’t say it’s love that broke your heart
When you trusted someone ’cause love’s the victim not the crime
And love will be there to break your fall if you trust in love
Know that love would never break your heart
Love can break your fall.” ~Jody McBrayer, Love Can Break Your Fall
As a regular contributor, this post originally appeared on TheCourage.com.