This Valentine’s Day think beyond the dozen roses and box of chocolate candy.
United Methodist Communications
Tradition holds that Saint Valentine was a Roman priest who was imprisoned for ministering to persecuted Christians and for performing wedding ceremonies for soldiers who weren’t supposed to marry. Today, Valentine’s Day is most often seen as a day to celebrate love. That’s great if you have a partner with whom to share a special date, a box of chocolates and a bunch of roses. However, it is a reminder to some people of what they feel is missing in their lives. How can you show love to your church and community this Valentine’s Day?
Help the elderly connect.
Use technology to connect seniors with their long-distance friends or relatives via FaceTime (iOS) or Tango (Android) video calls. Visit a senior adult Sunday school class or a nursing home and ask if anyone would like to make such a call. Show them how to get started with FaceTime or Tango on their phones or computers or allow them to use yours.
You also could take several widows or widowers out to lunch, or host a Valentine’s Day party for the senior citizens in your church. Encourage the children in your church to create valentines for the senior classes as well as for their own grandparents.
Thank those who serve.
Find ways to thank and minister to those who serve — the military, police officers, firefighters and others who help take care of us. You can bake cookies and take them to your local fire or police departments. Send a public thank you by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. You can buy a meal for a serviceman or woman you may know. Think about people who regularly serve you without notice (like the police officer at your child’s school or the waitress at your local coffee shop). Find a special way to honor them.
Consider those away from home.
Being away from home can make Valentine’s Day lonely. Connect with college students in your community. Invite a group to come to your house for dinner or go to a movie together. Take bags of goodies to them on campus, or just send them a card. If you know deployed military men or women, think ahead and send them a care package. And if you don’t know of anyone personally, AdoptaPlatoon gives instructions on how to send a special Valentine’s treat to some of our military personnel.
Remember those who are struggling.
You probably know someone who has had a rough time recently. Take a meal to someone who has been struggling with a serious illness. Volunteer to babysit for a single mom who could use some time alone. Give a gift card to a family who has experienced financial difficulties. Help those who are homeless. Host a special Valentine’s Day dinner for them, or make bags with toiletries and special goodies. Give the bags to a local shelter to be distributed. Even hosting a churchwide blood drive can help your congregation remember those who are struggling by truly giving something from the heart.
Reach out to strangers.
Encourage your congregation to conduct random acts of kindness. Pay for someone’s meal or coffee. Compliment the person standing in line with you. Leave an encouraging note on the new guy’s desk at work. Tape a dollar bill to a vending machine. Donate your time at a local soup kitchen or community center. Think about how you can make someone smile today.
Encourage one another.
Send flowers, candy, cards or gifts to church staff or volunteers. Even something small like a $5 gift card to the local ice cream shop can be a great way to show you care. Encourage church members to write cards or letters to one another this month. Offer a special bulletin board or table where members can leave and pick up “mail.” Help your children make thank-you valentines for their Sunday school teachers or nursery workers.
John 13:35 says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” While no one can do everything, the worst thing is to do nothing. February is the month of love. So, take a look at these ideas and think of some others. Find something you can do this month to help share the love of Christ through you.
Last Updated on January 30, 2024