What Lent & Valentine’s Day Have in Common

You may have noticed something unusual about this Wednesday: February 14th. Besides this celebration of Cupid’s arrows, it’s also Ash Wednesday—the first day of Lent. Both holidays happen to coincide on the same day this year.

Some of us view Valentine’s Day as the day for excessive chocolate eating, right? And Lent, of course, is often typified by fasting in preparation for Easter.

At first glance, these special days may seem contradictory, but the more I’ve thought about it the more I appreciate the connection—particularly the one unifying word, love.

If you’ve been around while, you know that chocolate and roses don’t define love. True love involves enduring sacrifice for one another—the greatest sacrifice of all being demonstrated by Jesus (John 3:16; 15:13).

It’s a truly honorable thing to show appreciation for those closest to us, but this year let’s consider a few more individuals—specifically those who least expect it, those who may need a little extra encouragement, or those who can’t give anything in return.

It’s often in remembering the forgotten that we have the most opportunities to share the love of Christ!

A few outreach ideas for families (or individuals):

  • Give a flower to a homeless person.
  • Visit a nursing home—spend some time listening to widows or widowers share memories of their spouses.
  • Spend some time with a friend or family whose husband/father is deployed overseas.
  • Ask someone who is divorced/single/widowed over for dinner.
  • Take balloons or flowers to a children’s hospital.
  • Help kids decorate cookies or cupcakes to give to seniors in your church, a nursing home, a homeless shelter, or perhaps your local fire department.
  • Pray with and for those who are grieving during this holiday!

What outreach opportunities have you participated in for Valentine’s Day? What doors, if any, opened to share God’s love?

Sarah is the author of Bathsheba’s Responsibility in Light of Narrative Analysis, contributor to Vindicating the Vixens, and contributing editor for The Evangelism Study Bible. Some of her previous ministry experiences have included teaching and mentoring of adults and children in a wide variety of settings. Her small claim to fame is that she has worked with children of every age range from birth through high school over the past 20 years. She and her husband Ben reside in Richardson, Texas with their four children.