“We love each other because he loved us first.”
1 John 4:19
It’s pretty sweet.
Every year, the same scenario plays itself out on Valentine’s Day – a bevy of excited kids, dizzy with joy, distribute their valentines. One by one, they pop them into the oversized envelopes that have become our classroom tradition, personally decorated and hung invitingly from desks.
I make them wait most of the day, to build the anticipation to a wild frenzy.
By the time they open them, they are vibrating.
And here’s the thing – they aren’t vibrating because they are on a sugar buzz. Many of the valentines come with a sucker or chunk of chocolate or some such sweet treat, and you’d think that was the true prize to a child of six.
The true prize is the valentines themselves.
They open and read each one. They chuckle at the little jokes. “Get it, Mrs. Lowes? It’s an owl, and the owl is saying ‘Owl Be Your Valentine!’ *Insert riotous laughter* They eagerly decipher each illiterate scrawl – “I think this is from Jason. Is it, Teacher?” Thank yous fly over heads and around desks in a flurry not unlike the good nights of the Walton days (for those of you old enough to know what I mean!)
Each missive is lingered over, delighted in, treasured.
It’s a remarkable experience, observing this genuine enjoyment of so simple a pleasure. If I had given each of them a bag of candy, it could not be met with more enthusiasm.
It’s as if the kidlets are drinking in a life-giving dose of friendship.
I used to be shocked. I mean, who cares about a little printed owl on a small card, even if he’s super ‘punny’?
But I think I know why they like the whole ritual so much.
It’s just good to be thought of. Appreciated. Noticed. Included.
As I read more of God’s love letter to us, I’m amazed at the grace I see. The inclusion. The sense of being seen and known and loved is strong in those pages. No candy included – yet how sweet, to be chosen.
The more I get to know this love, the freer I can be with the love I have to give. Nothing frees you up to love like being loved well.
Drinking in a life giving dose of friendship – friendship with the Boss of the Universe – is a sweet prize indeed.
Enjoy reading Valentines with me?
Father, we can delight in the innocent pleasure of littles reading valentines. Help us to take as much delight in reading Your valentine, your love letter to us. Thank You for loving us so well! Amen.