February represents the month of love. Valentine’s Day has become a commercial holiday celebrated with fancy heart shaped boxes of chocolate, goofy “love-inspired” gifts and mushy greeting cards. Truly, the roots of Valentine’s Day began as a Christian Holiday. Saint Valentine was a Roman priest and physician dating back to the third century. He was known for doing good deeds, caring for the poor, and healing the sick. Valentine was arrested during a persecution period of Christians and beheaded, apparently, on February 14th. Valentine’s acts of service and ministry represented a selfless non-romantic kind of love, also called “agape” love. So, what began as holiday to celebrate a man and his love for his neighbors has turned to a “romantic holiday”. Jesus tell us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-40)
This Valentine’s Day, why not share love with your neighbors instead of falling into the commercial madness and expectation of what the world tells us to do? Use your imagination to come up with ideas to show your neighbors how you feel about them. Remember, your neighbor doesn’t have to be only the person living next door, but your neighbor could be your co-workers, community first responders, military service persons, teachers, etc. Some ideas you may want to consider:
*Bake homemade heart shaped cookies.
*Cook a home cooked meal and invite neighbors over or deliver it to them.
*Shovel snow from your neighbor’s driveway.
*Rent a Redbox movie you think your neighbor might enjoy and invite them over or drop the movie off for them to watch at home.
*Plan a game night and invite your neighbors over.
*Treat the person behind you in the drive thru to a cup of coffee or lunch.
*Make ministry bags for the homeless and deliver them, include a homemade Valentine greeting card to let them know they are loved.
As a family, we enjoy spending time with our neighbors. We open our home often for Taco Tuesday or Crock-Pot Thursday or game nights. We also have a heart for people in need and we look for ways to serve together as a family. We all get busy and sometimes it takes effort and planning to be intentional about celebrating life with our neighbors. But, when we do, the time we spend together is priceless!