Valentine’s Day was few days ago and as I perused Facebook, I saw many posts by people whom I love and respect that fly in the face of traditional and superficial Valentine’s gifts. These posts focused on the sacrificial giving of one person to another as husband and wife and how giving the gift of each other and caring for children was truly what love meant to them. I agree with this assessment, but as someone who enjoys receiving gifts (yes, it is one of my love languages), I challenge that maybe giving and/or receiving gifts can be important. The key is in the motivation and receiving of the gift.
I’m doing an in-depth Bible study on the book of Matthew and in my arm-chair review of this gospel, I found no recorded instance of Jesus giving a gift. (Just to be clear, I’m not counting the gifts of time, provision, or care / healing.) What I do see recorded is Jesus RECEIVING gifts. The first gifts that come to mind are those that Jesus received as a child from the wise men - gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). These gifts were priceless and in their given form, could not be used for day-to-day purposes. The other gift was from the woman who poured expensive perfume on Jesus head as he reclined at the table days before his death (Matthew 26:7-13). Again, perfume was not something that could be used in a practical sense for daily needs, it was a luxury. These two examples show that the giver of the gifts understands who Jesus is and presented the gifts to him as a way to honor him. They chose those gifts based on what he means to them.
I believe that people who give Valentine’s Day gifts, if they give with pure motives, do the very same thing. They are looking for a small token to show their love for the other person based on who that person is. Do they get it right every time? No. Is their gift supposed to make up for months or years of neglect or indifference? No, better not. But for those of us who enjoy gifts, they are great reminders and celebrations of love and honor. Are they the be-all, end-all? No. Do I respect and love my husband for the daily sacrifices he makes in caring for our children, taking out the trash, and other menial, irritating tasks? Of course. I’m grateful for the man he is and the daily servant-leadership he shows our family.
For those of you who treat these small celebrations such as Valentine’s Day like “just another day”, more power to you; but that’s not for me. I enjoy these little reminders of love we built and stand on everyday.
What do you think? Are Valentine's Day gifts a waste of money or meaningful to you?