February is known as the love month, perhaps for all the wrong reasons. The commercialism associated with Valentine’s Day (and other holidays) seems to continue growing with each passing year.
“Get your Valentine a ‘forever’ diamond today, and show her what she really means to you.” “Get your Valentine one of our discounted pampering packages before they’re sold out!” And so the bombardment continues across our screens, print and devices.
While many of the so-called “holidays” we celebrate in the United States have very little to do with our Christian beliefs, we still can’t escape all of the advertising and selling that go along with them. It seems that in most of our local stores, the Valentine’s Day displays were up this year right as the Christmas displays were coming down.
As believers, we wonder: Do we dismiss these holidays that have very little relation to our modern Christian walk, do we go all in and enjoy the holiday silliness for what it is, or do we go somewhere in the middle? For the 21st century church, the question is a relevant one for more than one reason.
I have long advocated that the church dismisses popular culture and advertising at its own peril. And by that I mean that, whether we like it or not, we are competing with that pop culture and advertising for the hearts and minds (and therefore souls) of those in our community.
While these holidays can provide an opportunity to provide fun activities for some, they leave others feeling isolated and alone. Valentine’s Day in particular can remind the widow/ widower of the sting of loneliness and loss, while a young engaged couple can’t wait to show expressions of their love and affection.
The answer? Perhaps it can be found in compromise.
Our church works to find a happy medium: Fun for the young couple, while including the widow(er). Does it work? To some extent, it does. Our “Celebrating God’s Love Day” should be fun for the whole family. Young in love… Great, tell us more. Widowed and hurting… God loves you and so do we!
It’s not a perfect solution to the commercialism of modern times. But it’s a start. February is as good a month as any to share our joy with fellow believers in our church family.
Christopher Dixon is the Chief Operating Officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and the pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo.