A Celebration of Love

“And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

The Christmas tree is down, and the boxes of ornaments are finally in storage after sitting in the corner of the living room for the past two months. Before we know it, retailers are bombarding us with suggestions of flowers, gifts, and chocolates or a special evening out at your favorite restaurant, promising to dazzle those we love. 

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. Naturally, our thoughts turn to love.   We have an entire day set aside to express our affections with warm greetings and exceptional gifts. Not only is it a day of romance but an excellent time to share our love with family and friends.             

So, how do we say I love you?  Three little words, simple yet powerful. Words we long to hear. Words we long to say. And yet, as adults, we often find it challenging to share this complex mix of emotions, these feelings of affection and warmth that we call love. 

As a young child, I searched diligently through my dime-store box of valentines finding the perfect cards to exchange with my classmates. The message was fundamental, as was the picture of the cupid’s arrow shooting hearts of love. “Be mine” or “Will you be mine?” If you desire a more direct approach, send the daring one, “You’re my valentine.” 

 Heart-shaped construction paper and staples comprised our Valentine ‘mailbox’ where numerous cards were deposited and opened during our classroom party. Parents brought decorated sugar cookies, homemade of course, candy conversations hearts, and Kool-Aid. 

 My expectations of Valentine’s Day flourished as I entered high school. The dime-store cards with generic white envelopes that never had quite enough glue for sealing and the conversation hearts dimmed when compared to the Hallmark cards and the heart-shaped box of Brach’s chocolates. The empty faux velvet box was saved, along with the personal hand-written message inside the card. The words “I love you” were treasured long after I had enjoyed the last piece of chocolate. 

As a young adult, I was ecstatic when a dozen red roses, a box of Godiva chocolates, and an impressive card expressing never-ending love were delivered to my workplace. 

In later years, as with most things, the excitement of youth becomes worn, the glitter and sparkle quietly fading. In its stead are simplicity, wisdom, and appreciation.  

Simplicity whispers “I love you” in the card created many years ago by a little boy for his Meme.  

Wisdom is cherishing the magnitude of the words, “I love you.”  

Appreciation is the joyful privilege of having loved and being loved.

I regret not sharing the words; I love you more often. When spoken, its message is held close to the heart and forever treasured.

May the gift of love, both given and received, be yours this Valentine’s Day.