When I was little, we used to celebrate Valentine’s Day at school. In anticipation, everyone would cover and decorate a cardboard box, the predominant colors being red and pink and white. There was lots of construction paper and paste. The teacher would cut a slot in the top of the box, and they would all be gathered on the window sill. On Valentine’s Day, we’d bring our cut out Valentine’s Day cards, the only rule being that we had to bring one for everyone in the class. Some were fancier than others. Some even had candy attached—those hearts with the messages or chocolate. I am sure that my memory is not unique. It seemed to be standard practice in elementary schools. I hope that is still is because it was a great equalizer sort of activity, and not just because everyone got the same thing, but each of us had to give the same to everyone in the class, calling each classmate to mind, and considering their value.
These days, Valentine’s Day seems to have become much more an exclusive thing, focused on special people in our lives—a spouse, a partner, a child, a close friend. Maybe that’s because I’m older, and it surely is a fine thing to have a day to focus on those special relationships. I hope that we all spend more than a day focusing on those special relationships! However, I also hope that we can look out beyond the special people in our lives, calling all sorts of people to mind, considering their value, because each human being does have value and deserves something of equal treatment, equal care.
–Pastor Don Steele