$14 for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has come and gone again. There are lots of stories that surround that day, but this past year was particularly eventful for our family. On February 14, a young man came to our home with a stuffed animal and chocolates and asked our young daughter to be his “girlfriend.” (She said – “Yes” and she would want me to note that she is nearly seventeen years old.)

It wasn’t so long ago that I was a big part of my daughter’s Valentine Day. It was because of my daughter and son that we started a family tradition that still encourages my heart when I remember it.

As Jackie and I were discussing our Valentine Day plans many years ago, our son and daughter asked – “What about us? Don’t you love us?” They may have only been seeking a present, but their questions led to an opportunity.

In those days, we were particularly mindful to teach that it is the thought that counts and that gift-giving should be thoughtful. At the same time, we wanted to emphasize that a thoughtful gift need not be an expensive gift. After much discussion and discernment, we put names in a hat and gave instructions that each person was given $14 to spend on the person whose name they had chosen.

Because of the age of our children, Jackie took one child and I took another on a journey of discovery in gift-giving. Many times it was me walking through a store with my daughter or on occasion, I would be trying to find the gift that would signify my love for her.

$14 was a unique amount that paralleled February 14. Thoughtfulness was required. Love requires thoughtfulness.

One of my favorite lines from a recent contemporary song posits that Jesus thought of us when he was on the cross. The cross was not a haphazard moment in history; it was the culmination of a plan of rescue and redemption. Just as a father wanted to be thoughtful about a gift for a daughter or a son, our Father was thoughtful for us and it cost more than $14 – much more.

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