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If you have been anywhere near a major store lately they have several aisles dedicated to Valentines day.
As you walk the aisle you see heart shaped boxes filled full of chocolate alongside plush animals wrapped in red ribbons and fancy cards with poetic verses.
I wonder
do we let the Valentines day concept ‘pressure us’ into buying a card or a gift just because Hallmark says we must in order to show our love.

There are other ways to show love.

For instance:
grocery shopping for you when you are feeling down and not able to think
sending you flowers when you don’t expect them or a card
or making a phone call just when you think they need it
to say ‘I am thinking of you’
expressing your gratitude even for small things
doing the dishes or making the bed
getting your car washed just because or
walking the floor with the baby or
walking the dog in weather that is not so nice
making dinner after you planned it
allowing the other person to sleep in when you know they are really truly exhausted
There are many ways to show you care for your loved one in your home
or towards your children or grandchildren.
Hallmark does not have to tell me ‘on this day you will declare your love’

I see it as a challenge for us every day to realize it doesn’t have to be February 14th.
It can be any day we see our loved one smile across the room.
Or when we let them know we are glad they are here with us.
Surprises are wonderful.
Encouragement and praise is too.
Thoughtful gestures are nice along with sweet words but
I challenge you on this Valentines day to remember
gifts are wonderful but not in exchange for your time or your listening ear or your understanding or most of all your prayers.
What matters is knowing I will take the love challenge and do something from my heart to theirs.
Not because of hallmark or the calendar or guilt.
I do it because I choose to show my love every day of the year not just one.
What about you, are you up for the challenge?
You don’t have to be married it can be something you do that is nice towards a good friend or a child you admire or even someone in a care home.
Valentines day is all about saying to someone, “I care for you.”
It is a challenge to show love and perhaps even let this be an opportunity to show God’s love for others too.
HE gave us a real example of  His love in John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life”
The ultimate most meaningful love gift of all from God’s heart to ours
because he cared deeply for us.

(mug picture from pinterest ~ clip art pictures from google)