By Pastor Rhoda Klein Miller

I don’t have to look at the calendar to know it is February. Heart-shaped items are in almost every store window I pass.  It’s not just the bakery, jewelers and Purdy’s, there are heart-shaped eyeglass frames and heart-shaped pizza too. It is tempting to both relent and resent the commercial pressure to buy some token proof of your love.

I remember a long string of years where I would intentionally wear all black on Feb 14 to signal my personal protest of the Hallmark holiday – even when I was dating someone. I’m not sure if I did that guy a favour or left him confused. I no longer boycott the day but instead, embrace it as an opportunity for meaningful practices and conversations and hope you can too, even if you’re single.  

After reading the history of Valentine the martyred clergy, I felt impressed to honour the memory of his noble spiritual service.  Even if the facts and mythology were muddled, he died for his convictions and I could find personal inspiration in that legacy. Legend denotes Valentine as a priest who secretly performed Christian weddings and gifted paper hearts as emblems of their vows to love God and each other.  Everyone can benefit from the genuine reminder they are loved.

In highschool my mom would make sure flowers, chocolates or balloons were found at my locker or homeroom desk on Valentine’s Day. While super embarrassing at the time, it demonstrated the undeniable love of a mother and deep down I knew I was cared about. Who can you pour a bit of unexpected love into this day? It doesn’t have to cost anything. Send a handwritten note or make a call. Tell someone you appreciate their presence in your life. Tell them their wellbeing matters to you. 

Valentines can open a door to make amends and reclaim love lost between you and a former friend. Finally, seize this day to reflect on the most generous and sacrificial gesture of love for you in all of history in Jesus. He’s longing to receive your heart, and if it’s cold and broken, He’s offering a new and thriving heart in return. (Ezekiel 11:19-20)