Today is Valentine’s Day – one of those celebrations I struggle with a lot because it seems to me that the love we celebrate on this day is the very antithesis of the love of God. It did start out as a religious celebration commemorating the life of St Valentine, one of the early Christian martyrs but today is more a celebration of romantic love and another opportunity for the consumer culture to have us all out there buying lots of chocolates, roses and other gifts that we don’t really need. I was overwhelmed as I walked through the supermarket over the weekend by the array of red flowers, red chocolate boxes and red cup cakes that were strategically placed to jump out at me as I entered the store. This is not what love is about.
How do we transform Valentine’s day into the celebration of the love and sacrifice of God that I think should be at the heart of our observances if we do celebrate this day at all? I don’t think that we should be party poopers and deny the need to celebrate. We just need to find ways to celebrate that not only connect us to God but also to the world in which we live. Some Christians I know use this as a day to reaffirm their marriage vows and commitment to each other. Others use it as a special opportunity to reach out to loved ones around the world.
Getting into the true story of chocolate and the real price of our purchases on this day is another way to celebrate as I talked about on my blog post Valentine’s Day is Coming. I mentioned that we plan to tour Theos chocolates this afternoon. I am really looking forward to this and will probably eat more chocolate than I ever had on Valentine’s day before. This is the only organic fair trade bean to bar chocolate company in the US. I love to find practical ways like this to transform the celebrations that have been co-opted by the secular culture. At the least I think that we need to educate ourselves about the chocolate that we eat. Those of you who are not aware of the dark side of chocolate may like to plan a showing of this video
I would love to hear other ideas you may have come up with that transform this day into a celebration of the love of God.