When you love more, you get more
February 14, 2022
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. — John 3:16
Valentine’s Day is one of those commercialized holidays that boost the bottom lines of candy companies — and florists. But when I was a little girl, Feb. 14 wasn’t about flowers or even the chocolates in the heart-shaped box that my mother would put on top of my cereal bowl in the morning. (It was always a beautiful sight to see that loving gesture brightening what would have been just another ordinary wintry day for my brother, sister and me. I tried my best not to get into the candy before heading to school, emphasis on “tried.”)
As much as I appreciated the chocolates, what I looked forward to the most was handing out Valentine’s Day cards to my classmates. With money in my pocket from my allowance, I would go to the local Woolworth’s with my grandmother and pore over the variety of boxed cards. There were cards featuring cuddly animals. Cards with Peanuts characters. Cards with flowers and rainbows. It wasn’t easy choosing, but no matter what I finally purchased, I knew this: There would have to be enough cards for ALL my classmates. That’s right. All. My mother made sure of that, reminding me that even the kid who pulled my pigtails should not be left out and receive a card.
Sadly, what I often remember of Valentine’s Days past were my friends who didn’t get such advice from their parents, which meant there were children who would go home that day with few messages of “You are loved.”
William Shakespeare famously penned about love that the “more I give, the more I have.” He was right. Love is like that, and every time I have found myself building walls around my heart or withholding a loving word or choosing to dislike someone all because (insert any foolish reason we give to not like someone), I remember those boxed Valentine’s Day cards of my childhood. I remember the joy of writing cards to those who were my best friends. I remember the struggle to write a card to the child who was mean to me. I remember the sadness writing a card to the child who always sat alone during lunch. What I remember the most, though, was the day I placed my Valentine’s Day card on the desk of that child. It was the only one she had received — and she gave me the most beautiful smile. A simple little heart-shaped card made all the difference to her — and to me.
When you risk loving all, more love does enter your life. Perhaps that is what Jesus was trying to tell us when he gave us the mandate to love one another. Love, even if it is hard at times. Love. Because when we choose to love, goodness and grace increase and hate decreases. This Valentine’s Day, imagine what your small gesture of love can do to heal the brokenhearted, the lonely, the misunderstood and the neglected. For God so loved the world, God gave us Jesus — a love letter addressed to you, to me, to the stranger, to our enemies, to all.
Donna Frischknecht Jackson is the editor of Presbyterians Today. She is also the author of the 2022 Lenten devotional, “Lord, When Did We See You?” — a weekly Matthew 25 journey to Easter. The online devotional is available at pcusa.org/2022Lent.
Today’s Focus: Valentine’s Day
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
John Kim, Senior Translator, Global Language Resources, Administrative Services Group (A Corp)
Lydia Kim, Coordinator, Mission Personnel Team, World Mission, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray
Loving God, in a world where hate seems to be the norm and where we are too quick to draw divisive lines in the sand, come and open our hearts. Help us on this day to move past the sentimentality of hearts and roses. May we embrace this day as one to challenge ourselves to love as your Son wanted us to love. May we look at our box of Valentine’s Day cards and see that there are enough love notes for all in our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.