I just returned from my annual pilgrimage to the post office to pick up a book of stamps decorated with hearts, which can only mean one thing: Valentine’s Day is almost here.
(I buy Harry Potter stamps otherwise.)
I’ve always been a fan of Valentine’s Day. My family has celebrated the holiday with small gifts and Valentines since I was young. Plus, here in the northern hemisphere it’s always a bright spot to look forward to in the midst of a winter slump.
However, I come across disdain for the holiday year after year—it seems that there are just as many people against Valentine’s Day as there are for it. More often than not, this frustration with the holiday has to do with romantic love and broken hearts. What if we started to think of the holiday it differently?
As my interest in the liturgical seasons in the Christian calendar has grown, I’ve also started to notice the liturgical seasons and feast days we participate in as a culture—summer vacation, the Fourth of July (in the US), the onset of autumn (and everything pumpkin spice), Halloween, the Super Bowl (apparently), and of course Valentine’s Day (the list could go on). Sure, they’re often cloaked with consumerism, but just as with the liturgical seasons of the Church, these cultural holidays offer annual invitations for our everyday lives if we choose to listen.
What if this year you made this Valentine’s Day a celebration of love—not simply romantic love that might come and go with each year’s passing, but rather the Love that brings healing and draws us closer to our True Selves and the Divine?
A great invitation, right? However, as with liturgy, it’s always nice to have a written guide. The prayer below has been pinned above my desk for many years. May it help you celebrate and surrender to the Love that never fails to bring Life—this Valentine’s Day and every day.
THE LOVE PRAYER
Today I remove all boundaries and walls,
Once used as a means of defense,
I forgive those things from the darkened past,
That in love’s divine realm make no spiritual sense.
Releasing all worries, all burdens and doubt,
I bring light to the shadows of fear.
By centering myself with a loving thought,
Harsh judgments I no longer hear.
The greatest experience that life has to give,
Is love from an open heart,
For it moves me to appreciate all there is,
And I’m one with it all, not apart.
It’s love that brings me closer to God,
And leads me according to God’s way,
Love’s light warms my spirit, it nurtures my soul,
And assures me everything is okay.
I am one with God and never apart,
As I live this day with an open heart.
(Poem from a card distributed by Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City, MO)
How can you celebrate love this Valentine’s Day (and every day)?