Valentine’s Day. Some love it. Some hate it. Actually, most hate it. In a 2012 CNN article, Dean Obeidallah wrote, “Valentine’s Day is terrible for two kinds of people — those who are single and those who aren’t.”

His point is that people in a relationship are “forced” to show love on that particular day. Laden with guilt, we feel a sense of obligation rather than doing it with pure motives. But, many have found, it’s better to do it begrudgingly than to not do it at all!

On the other side of the spectrum are the folks who are not in a relationship, but would really love to be. Valentine’s Day is just another reminder that they are alone and lonely. They find the day especially depressing (CNN article).

We are all aware of the fact that Valentine’s Day is big business. According to Reuters, the average person will spend just over $142 dollars this year (that’s $8 dollars more than last year). Most of the money will be spent on candy and flowers. And, don’t forget the pets. One-in-five people plan on purchasing some type of treat for their pets. Total spending is projected to be about 18.9 billion! (Does Cupid even have pockets?) (Source).

For those of us who are in a relationship and looking for a few ideas to keep it “frugal”, U.S. News says, enjoy dinner at home, look for restaurant deals, make cookies rather than buying chocolates, and write a personal love note rather than buying a card (Source).

All that aside, as Christ-followers, the day provides a great opportunity for us to make a difference in the lives of others around us. People around us are looking for hope, meaning, and value. They’re looking to be appreciated and loved–not for how they look or what they do, but for who there are.

On Valentine’s Day, there are those who feel marginalized by no fault of their own. These are folks who are either not in a relationship or those who are widowed. Or, it could be a single parent with kids. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for us, as a community of believers, to reach out in love on this day of love?

This year, consider “adopting” a special someone you know that could use a special touch. If you have kids, it would be great to get the kids involved. What a great “teachable moment”.

We could potentially change someone’s life. Imagine the surprise and delight when they discover that you thought about them and made or bought them something special.

Here are a few ideas:

1)   Give the “traditional” flowers or candy. It seems “routine”, but some folks just want to be like everybody else on this day

2)   Invite the person over to your house with your family for a special dinner

3)   Make homemade cards

4)   Bake cookies and special treats as a family

5)   Give them a coupon for “5 dinners with the fam” or “free labor for 2 hours”

6)   Surprise them at their home

7)   Take pictures with them and make a Valentine’s Day 2015 scrapbook

What we choose to do is not as important as the fact that we choose to do something. It would be fun and meaningful for the person we reach out to—and also fun for us and our family! The best part of all, we are loving our neighbor as ourselves.

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