It’s almost Valentine’s Day. It’s fun to look forward to a day focused on love and hope your spouse surprises you with a plan to celebrate….but let’s be honest. A lot of times we expect too much and give too little.
There’s nothing wrong with celebrating with your sweetie. But love is to be given away. 1 John 4:19 tells us, “We love because he first loved us,” implying that God doesn’t love us just so we can hull up in a cozy love corner. He loves us so that we can freely and joyfully give that love to others. While I enthusiastically support married couples using this occasion to build their relationship, what if this year you looked outward to find someone else who needs to be celebrated with love?
Valentine’s Day isn’t just about romance. What if you make a commitment to display sacrificial affection to someone around you who really needs it? Here are 5 ways to practically offer love to someone in need during this season focused on romance instead of God’s love.
1. Offer to babysit. You know how it is with young kids. Mom and Dad are exhausted from middle of the night feedings, cleaning up potty training messes all day, and sweeping up cheerios. Give these tired lovebirds a night out on you! This is the couple that truly needs a two-hour kid-free break to look at each other across a dinner table and call each other by their first names instead of Mommy and Daddy for a night.
2. Invite someone over for dinner. Do you know a group of single girls who don’t want to visit the restaurants packed with starry-eyed lovers? Make a meal for them! What about that single mom who’s tired of being the only chef at home? Tell her to bring the kids too! You don’t have to prepare anything fancy. Simply give someone who needs it a warm environment for a special night in.
3. Send a friend a “happy.” Think of that one friend who won’t be heading out with a special someone. Send her a bouquet of flowers. Think of an aging grandmother who you used to bake heart cookies with every February. Drop off a homemade batch from your kitchen of the heirloom recipe. You know what would speak love to someone you know. Go for it!
4. Leave notes around your neighborhood. Help your kids craft and glue glittered hearts. Add a lollipop or other sweet treat. Tie one valentine on each of your neighbor’s front doors. We love getting Christmas cards. Fill your friends’ mailboxes with Valentine’s cards too. It’s a great excuse to express appreciation and affection for those you do life with.
5. Demonstrate love to a stranger who needs it. If love is to give away, decide on a type of service project to participate in with your family. An easy idea is to contact a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter to see if you can help with a meal. You could also tie up little giveaway packs of peanut butter crackers and water bottles to keep in your car. When you see someone in need, you’ll have on hand a perfect way to help.
Which one can you try this month to show Christ’s love to someone besides your spouse or your children?
His love is for everyone and we’re commanded to give it to each person we encounter. So really sharing and showing love is for every day of the year. If you’re up for it, make an entire month of love. Try one of these ideas each week for the entire month of February to keep love on your to-do list.
May you enjoy the sacrifices of love this month, learning to love as Jesus did!