The time has come to discuss one of the most anticipated days in the calendar.
It’s February! The second month of the year and of course, a time coined as “the month of love” (although personally, it’s the month of pancakes for me… but whatever floats your boat).
Some of you may be preparing to cringe at (or maybe even partake in!) scenes of couples gushing over each other in public places. Get ready for the oversized Valentine’s cards and gigantic teddies; roses and chocolates; lingerie and candles. Because what else could possibly scream ROMANCE more?!
Okay, I’ll admit. I’ve never fully subscribed to the whole Valentine’s Day thing. Whether I was in a relationship or not, I thought it was so cheesy. I thought it was just another ploy to feed greedy corporations through buying into their lovey-dovey merchandise. And to be honest, I guess part of me didn’t want to develop great expectations for this big day, so then I wouldn’t be disappointed if they weren’t met by some hopeless boy that had my affection.
But with hindsight I can see that the viewpoint I had back then was from the eyes of a younger Wunmi. The younger me didn’t really even appreciate what love is, or why it’s so important to remind the people I love, that they are loved. Now that I am in a serious and committed relationship of 3 and a half years or so, I’ve learned a few things about this love thing that I want to share with you guys. By no means am I necessarily trying to sell Valentine’s Day to you, rather I just want to explain why my thought process has evolved.
Right, let’s address the age-old Celebrating Love vs Feeding Greedy Corporations debate. To put things into perspective: in the United Kingdom an average of 25 million cards are given on Valentine’s Day. On top of this, we spend an average of £1.3 billion on Valentine’s gifts each year and this number will probably increase as 21st century commercial romance becomes more ridiculous – #RelationshipGoals. Therefore… yes these companies are going to make a fat cheque from Valentine’s Day and no, the people “behind the scenes” probably don’t care about us and our love lives. But so what? Currently, most holidays feed the economy in the western world – Christmas and Easter included. That’s just the nature of capitalism. However the focus of Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about the commercialism – if you make it personal to you and your loved ones, it doesn’t have to be a competition with society at large about buying the most lavish displays of affection.
My friend recently informed me of the origins of Valentine’s Day and I was shocked at the lack of emphasis on gift-giving. The holiday’s roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15.
Pope Gelasius I recast this pagan festival as a Christian feast day circa 496, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine’s Day. – InfoPlease.com
Now you might be thinking: so really, it’s just a made-up holiday?! Well yes, I guess it is. But I would argue that there are positives that we can take from embracing Valentine’s Day more:
- Whilst we should really show love to eachother everyday, the reality is that we dont!! We just don’t do it. Unfortunately most people get consumed by the busyness of everyday life and forget to create these special moments. Especially for couples, I can only imagine life gets even more busy once you’re married with three kids, a dog and a stack of bills to pay. Hence, using Valentine’s Day to take stock is a great opportunity to remind your loved ones that you do love and appreciate them.
- Jesus has called us to love one another, so why not indulge in a holiday that encourages the second greatest commandment? – to “love your neighbour as yourself” – See Matthew 22:36-40
- Finally, I have learned that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a couples-fest. We are so blessed to have many beautifully complex relationships. Not just with significant others but relationships with neighbours, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, parents, grandparents, friends, colleagues and even pets. You also have a relationship to nurture with yourself (#SelfLove is important!). So with that being said, each of these people need regular reminders that they are loved and important to you.
Ultimately, Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday, there’s no denying it. But we can take these positives and use them to glorify God through spreading love. As I said above, this isn’t a competition. As tempting as it is to scroll through social media and see what all the lovebirds are up to – having dinner at The Shard or staying in a five star hotel – we know that real love is not rooted in material things, so we need not be jealous or bitter (See: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Whilst extravagant gifts are lovely gestures (which I wouldn’t say no to either lol), I honestly think the best gift or reminder of love that you can give someone is your time. Just being present speaks volumes. And you don’t have to experience such materialism to enjoy your Valentine’s Day.
That’s all from me. Remember to keep spreading love, not just on Valentine’s Day but always. God is love.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a gift from me to you:
What’s your stance on Valentine’s Day? I’d love to know your thoughts too – share them in the comment box below 🙂
God bless you!
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8