Sometimes I think that big, grandiose displays of love are really taking the easy way out. While I'm not denying that thought and effort do go into them, it just seems like there is little creativity or originality. Like McSteamy said to McDreamy, "They're cliches for a reason, because they work." I think it takes a lot more effort (and possibly shows truer love, although that would be impossible to judge) to be simple, original, and consistent in how you demonstrate your love to someone. And I'm not just talking about romantic love here either.
One of my favorite speakers/Christian leaders is John Dawson. He is an international director of YWAM. He has a great message called, Letting Love Reach It's Destination. The whole message is basically summed up in saying that love doesn't do any good unless it is expressed. (Or as James Taylor would put it, shower the people you love with love.)
I think we could all learn something valuable from Sydney, who is 5 and is one of my absolutely favorite people in the world. She and her sister were making valentines for their classmates. Shelby's were so creative and cute. Sydney's were simply decorated, slightly misspelled, a little hard to read, and amazingly thoughtful. Before she began each one she stopped and thought, "What does Kennedy (or Regan or Alayna) like to do?" And then she tailored her message to each individual. It was an astounding thing to watch.
I wanted to share the story of St. Valentine. I haven't taken the time to look it up, so this is probably a bit flawed. But to the best of my memory here it is:
Back in the early centuries of the church, when persecution was the norm and not the exception, there lived a man named Valentine. He was a church leader in an area near a Roman army outpost. At that time it was illegal for soldiers younger than a certain age (or possibly below a certain rank) to be married. Rather than see these young men fall to temptation Valentine conducted clandestine marriages for Christian soldiers. One day a young couple was found out and the soldier sentenced to death. Valentine went to the prison and offered his life in exchange for the young soldier's freedom. His offer was accepted. As he sat in prison awaiting his date with the wild beasts he befriended the daughter of his jailer: a young, blind, and mistreated girl. He shared with her the good news of Jesus, and as he was led away to the arena she was healed and received her sight. One of the first things that she saw was the joy on Valentine's face as his soul went to meet it's Lover.
That is what St. Valentine's Day is all about. Remembering that "greater love hath no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends." And I just think that sometimes all the little ways we lay down our lives, day in and day out, matters just as much as a great big way. Maybe more.