So, let me just say first off, I don’t like Valentine’s Day, never have, probably never will. I don’t hate it, I just don’t like it. If I’m honest with myself, I don’t like most holidays, Christmas included. I know that may cause some issues with people, with me being a pastor and all, but let me explain myself before the angry messages start flowing.
I started off just being annoyed with Valentine’s Day, and then I realized the feeling wasn’t just isolated to this one random holiday in February. It was a continuous feeling around celebrations that deal with gifts and buying things to show how much we care. I would guess this would be part of my discomfort with birthdays as well.
I spent some time over my lunch hour trying to pinpoint my annoyance. Valentine’s Day was easy at first, I’m single, but it was more than that. I dislike the what holidays in the United States have become. The commercialization, consumption driven, spending frenzy that they are takes our energy and puts it in the wrong place. We spend days, weeks, months worrying about what to buy, who to buy for, and whether we will be fully appreciated by the efforts. What if that effort went elsewhere?
What if all the stress around Christmas shopping, Valentine’s shopping, birthday shopping, went into worry about the people in our lives, towards the things that really impact them. What if we took the hours we spend walking the aisles at stores or surfing the web for gifts, and spent that time with someone, giving them actual time instead of the flowers delivered by someone else? Imagine what the world would be like if that much time was spent learning the story of others.
The United Methodist Church has a mission statement, “Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World.” If I think about how the original disciples were made, how they were called, how they learned, it was because of the time they were given by the teacher. I believe in all my heart the only way that the world will be transformed to a world of love and peace is through time and relationship. Let’s make that effort, together, and worry less about the “things.”
Grace and Peace,