Valentine's Day is typically designated to celebrate romantic love between people. It should be simple and straight-forward, but even that gets complicated. (I wrote all about my love-hate relationship with Valentine's Day last year).
But the older I get, the more I realize that this February holiday is the perfect opportunity to shower ALL those I care about with love. I remember sending funny cards to my sister back in the day. She was single and dreading the V-word. Those cards let her know that someone was thinking about her and loved her a lot.
The same is true for my kids.
None of them are dating yet (especially not the eight year-old), so Valentine's Day is mostly about creating elaborate, over-the-top, made-by-the-42-year-old-not-the-eight-year-old valentine's boxes for school. It's also about collecting suckers, pencils, and mini-tattoos from their friends while overdosing on candied hearts. It's not, thankfully, about swooning, eye-batting love yet. Praise you, Jesus.
Over the years, the Meggisons have been called "The Heart People" by friends, family, and even strangers. Our family mission is to share God's heart - his love, his actions, his words - to the world around us. And so, naturally, we take Valentine's Day seriously.
It's kind of our Super Bowl.
We look for opportunities to love our friends, neighbors, and the people we bump into along the way. But, we also take the day to love each other. We use Valentine's Day as a way to model the many ways you can show and communicate love. And we have fun while we do it!
Here's how it works:
A few years back we started this tradition and you are welcome to borrow it and make it your own. We draw names for our Family Secret Valentines. These will be our valentines for the week. We do our best to keep this a secret, although one of the kids (usually the eight year-old) typically spills the beans at some point.
During the days leading up to Valentine's Day, each family member is encouraged to love their valentine using each of the Five Love Languages - words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, gifts, and acts of service. (If you aren't familiar with Gary Chapman's book, check it out here.)
Here's what it looks like:
Each family member must write a letter sharing what they love about their valentine. They must also spend time with their valentine doing something THEIR VALENTINE would enjoy doing. They're encouraged to give hugs, kisses, and high fives. They are given a designated amount of money to purchase a gift and must think thoughtfully about what would most bless their valentine. And lastly, they are to perform an act of service for their valentine.
Now, there's no limit to the number of gestures you can show your valentine, but a minimum of one in each category is required. We have fun getting creative and looking for ways to love our valentines without revealing our identities.
The Secret Valentine Week concludes on Valentine's Day with the gift-exchange and a special "fancy" dinner. (Fancy means not macaroni and cheese. It also means we we eat by candlelight which makes our slightly-better-than-macaroni-and-cheese dinner feel elegant.)
I love our tradition because it's fun and it reminds our kids that love can be expressed in lots of different ways. It also reminds them that they actually DO love their siblings and parents.
But, mostly, it shows that Valentine's Day isn't just about romantic love. It's about loving your family, your friends, and the people you meet. Because some years you have romantic love in your life and some years you don't.
But, either way, you are loved deeply and should know it.
Happy Valentine's Day!!