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An Alternative to Valentine's Day...

By Joel Leakey | 13 February 2017

An Alternative to Valentine's Day - a blog for Stewardship

If you're single, or uninterested in the commercial fuss, or find it a yearly struggle – what are you supposed to do with Valentine's Day beyond just ignoring it? Well, if you want to be someone who celebrates generosity as biblically and broadly as you can, I reckon you have a great opportunity on your hands to help lead the way in generosity beyond consumeristic cards and chocolates.


In the UK, people spend over £1.3 billion on Valentine's Day gifts each year – not necessarily a horrible thing, but a pretty good measure of how consumerism has taken the reins of the day. Just like Halloween and (particularly confusingly) Thanksgiving, the American budget for Valentine's Day is stealth-creeping its way over the pond. On a day like that, single and/or unbothered people can lead the way in pointing to something bigger, to the incredible breadth of God's love.


We can keep the day as a celebration of all love: Our society prizes romance as the highest expression of love. But God has so much more than just romantic love in His plans for each of us. So why not use the day to swing the spotlight onto forms of love beyond just romance? In 'The Four Loves' CS Lewis says, fairly brutally, that “Those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of [romantic love] betray the fact that they have never had a Friend.” In a society that overvalues one form of love, other forms of love get undervalued, including the profound gift of friendship. Things haven't always been this way –  expressions of love now kept for romantic love were even once kept for friendship – just look at Jonathan and David's friendship in the Old Testament, or all the 'holy kisses' going on in the New Testament. So without going that far (!), we can use Valentine's Day to celebrate friendships and connections that culture has dropped down the priority list.


We can seek out the overlooked: Keeping Valentine's Day with biblical generosity in mind could also look like gathering your single friends round for a meal, without spending the whole time complaining about couples at church. We could even invite the lonely around us. If you're part of a church, there could well be a few. In church, no one should be lonely, but often we reject our duty towards every member of the church and stay close to our own circle. What could happen if, this Sunday, you sat at the back of the room and looked for those at the fringes? What could happen if you sought them out and struck up a conversation, and invited them round for a big Valentine's Day meal with others who feel overlooked? In that simple act of love, you could be doing more for them than you ever know.


What if your Valentine's Day, this year, flew in the face of anything consumerist: embracing those who 'offer nothing' to society and are truly vulnerable, going way beyond your community and seeking those outside your comfort zones. What if you looked up refugee charities working on the ground in crisis areas, resettling people nearly beyond help?


For people who have bad memories resurface, or who feel left out, Valentine's Day can be a real challenge. And yet it's exactly at the points of loss or absence in our lives that God's power breaks through. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God promises us power to do things way beyond our natural ability, right at the points where we're weakest. That's an incredible thing, and we should do what we can to ground it in specific weaknesses in our lives. Maybe you typically struggle through Valentine's Day. This year, it could be an incredible opportunity to take God up on this promise.


How to be Generous With Your Time

Strengthening Our Generosity After a Rough Year

Surprising Uses for Hidden Talents



Posted by Joel Leakey

Joel Leakey is a freelance writer based out of Northern Ireland. You can follow him on Twitter at @joelleakey, but he warns you it's mostly puns.


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