Sun., Feb. 19, 2017

1 John 4:7-8 – My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God’s children, and we know him. God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known him.

My husband Rick and I have not always been very good about giving presents to each other. If either of us need something, we usually purchase it. Very blessed, we know others have more needs than we do. This is why we often buy gifts for others and call these our “presents” to each other.

Rick considers Valentine’s a “Hallmark holiday:” days for the benefit of card and candy companies. And it works! Rick couldn’t wait to tell me about his Monday afternoon. He stopped at Walgreens to purchase me a Valentine’s card. (Believe me … this is unusual!) The card aisle was shoulder-to-shoulder, filled with men! Three clerks were busily checking out the block-long line of men purchasing cards, including my hubby!

Actually, Rick had planned ahead. His present for me was completed a few days in advance. Because he would not be home on Valentine’s Day, he proudly had the bird house he made me hanging in the basement. He pinned a card to the outside, indicating I had to wait until Valentine’s Day to open. On Saturday night when I used the treadmill, I notice it. Yes, I waited until the 14th to open it.

I planned to work my part-time agriculture job on Tuesday. This office is just a mile from the farm that was Rick’s mom and dad’s place and is where he stays in-between work shifts. I opened the card before leaving for work. It immediately brought a smile to my face.

It was a birthday card. A couple years ago, I received a Christmas card on my birthday, which is a couple weeks after Christmas. The same year, on Valentine’s Day, I received my birthday card. Despite having a landmark birthday this year, I received a birthday card on Feb. 14.

Since I was working near the farm, Rick took me to lunch at a local bar/restaurant. He also produced his second surprise of the day: more wood slabs. A couple weeks earlier, I asked Rick to saw some wood slabs that I could use for decorating. These slabs are rather popular right now. Rather than buying one at a store, I knew Rick could make me some. The previous weekend, he had brought me a few Ash slabs. On Valentine’s Day, he had some Cherry versions, which would match some wood in our kitchen. A score for Rick!

Because of our schedules, quite often Rick and I don’t see each other on Valentine’s Day. I was so impressed when he shared at lunchtime that we could spend a few hours together in the evening. Our dear friend Don had passed away and his visitation was the evening of the 14th. Rick had arranged for a few hours off of work so we could go to the visitation. Some other friends had asked if we could have dinner together after the visitation. With Rick’s shorter shift, everything was a go.

We knew the visitation would be very busy. We were not disappointed. Our friends waited in line for an hour before we arrived. An hour plus later, we shared our condolences with Don’s family. Don’s love for the community, his church, people he met through his work (paid and volunteer) were so evident with the incredible line of people whose lives, like ours, had been touched by Don.

Valentine’s Day was capped off with a nice dinner and great conversation with our dear friends. Yes, the opportunity was created by Don’s sudden death. Yet, it seemed fitting. Taking time to be with folks we enjoy seemed terribly fitting.

I am a very fortunate woman. I have wonderful people in my life who love and care for me: my husband, who never ceases to amaze me with his silly and corny expressions of his love for me; dear friends whose connection is quick, even when it’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other. We must love each other, just as God loves us. This message simply never grows old, outdated or old-fashioned. One that too often gets overlook and shoved aside. One, I hope you are reminded of again this day.

Lord God – Thank you for loving us every single day, not just on Hallmark holidays. Thank you for sending us a reminder of your love for us in your Son, Jesus. May your example of love challenge us to love those around us.  Amen.

Blessings –


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