when valentine's day is your birthday
My birthday is on Valentine’s Day, and my last name is Love. To further the cheesy theme, I have red hair and my husband gets called Dr. Love all day. Have you walked through the dollar section at Target lately? It’s basically our personalized home-decor section at this time of year. I think all that cheesy-ness is kind of awesome though.
Throughout my life, people have asked me what it’s like having my birthday and Valentine’s on the same day. Often they assume that I feel short-changed, not having two different days to have a special meal, get a gift, etc. But the answer is--I’ve always loved my birthday being on Valentine’s Day. I spent most Valentine’s Days of my young life without a “boyfriend” (as though any of us were really old enough/mature enough to be dating anyway), which now I am REALLY thankful for but it didn’t feel very good at the time.
But Valentine’s Day didn’t end up being a sad day for me, because I still got to celebrate my birthday and feel loved by my friends and family. Once Tim and I got married, he was scared of getting accused of neglecting one holiday or the other, and to this day he writes me two cards every February 14th—one for my birthday and one for Valentine’s. How he thinks up fresh content for each one, I don’t know—but it’s really sweet.
I know some people ignore Valentine’s Day and don’t think it should be treated as a real holiday. But y’all, my last name is LOVE and it’s my birthday, so I can’t ignore it. The older I get though, the more I see the folly in chasing the feeling of being loved or celebrated or wanted by people around me, and the more it makes me think about what love is really all about.
I think about all of those Valentine’s Days when I wanted to feel loved, all of those times I welcomed my birthday celebrations distracting me from that---when all along I was loved perfectly by the One who is love, the One from Whom all love originates, the One whose love will never end or change or fall short. The Bible tells us that when we trust in Jesus, God’s love is poured into our hearts (Romans 5:5)—that His love endures forever (Psalm 136:2) and that nothing can separate us from it (Romans 8:38-39).
Once we’ve experienced this love, it compels us to love Him and love the people around us in new ways (2 Corinthians 5:14). As this awesome video from the Bible Project explains, "So Christian faith involves trusting that at the center of the universe is a being overflowing with love for His world, which means that the purpose of human existence is to receive this love that has come to us in Jesus, and then to give it back out to others— creating an ecosystem of others-focused, self-giving love.”
Isn’t that a much more beautiful vision of love than walking through the dollar section at Target during February or chasing the elusive feeling of being loved and wanted by people around us?
So happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, happy birthday to me, and thank you to God for showing us true Love that transcends all these holidays and that will never, ever fail.