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.