Sunday, January 23, 2011

a new valentine tradition

I recently read this book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions, by Noel Piper for our Moms group at church.  I highly recommend reading it, as it has truly changed the way I view our family traditions and gave some great ideas for new ones to start. (I think you can read it for free somewhere online too... Google it.)  Chad and I already have a lot of traditions that we do with our kids, especially at Christmastime, but this book changed how we present them to our kids - trying to make sure that we keep God at the heart of them.

So, in thinking about the upcoming V-Day and what we'd do with our kids, I thought of the same old thing we do every year - give them valentines and a little gift and make some valentine cookies or heart-shaped something-or-other.  Big deal, right?  I know... it's lame, but since Valentine's Day isn't really a big "Christian holiday," and mainly focuses on an armed, flying, naked baby and over-priced greeting cards, we never really made a huge deal over it.  So I didn't really think about changing it up much.  It's just Valentine's Day after all.

 And then it struck me.

This is a day all about LOVE.  And what greater love do we have than the love of our heavenly Father?  Shouldn't we embrace this day to teach our children about how much we love them and ultimately, how much more God loves them?  Really, if you think about it, it's an amazing opportunity.

So... that left me thinking about what to do.  Something that will show them our love and God's love for them and something that they'll look forward to every year.  So far, I've only come up with a few ideas.  One of them was a no-brainer.  It's a book we already had - Adeline, written by Bobby Strickland and illustrated by Kathryn Rathke:


Of course I love the title, since it's my oldest daughter's name, but that's really beside the point.  This is a wonderfully written book about a little girl, Adeline Addison, who receives several Valentines on the big day from admirers, but they all have the same message,
"You are the one I will always adore.  
But there is another who loves you much more."
This puzzles her, but at the end of the day she is delighted when she discovers that her "secret admirer" is God. 
"Then a thought flooded Adeline's heart to the brim:
'If God loves me this much, then I'll live for him!
And the love I've discovered is much too profound
to keep all to myself - I must tell the whole town!'"
So little Adeline takes her ginormous stack of valentines and makes a mountain with them for everyone to see and stakes a big sign on top that reads, "God Loves You Too!"
"Then Valentine Mountain,
as it came to be known,
was a message of love
from God's heavenly throne
to a kingdom of creatures
who might not have heard,
had it not been for Adeline's
mound of kind words."
Seriously.  Get this book.  I think it may be out of print now, but try to get your hands on a copy.  You won't regret it.  And at 30 pages in length, it's a nice size read too.  (We also have Adeline's Porcupine, which is another amazing book about true beauty - a must-read for every little girl.)

So, back to our traditions - we're going to make it a tradition to read Adeline every V-Day, of course.  But I also thought it'd be fun to hide valentines around the house that have the same message on them - "You are the one I will always adore.  But there is another who loves you much more." And then have different verses on them about God's love for us, like 1 John 3:1 "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God." and 1 John 4:9, "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." 

Of course, we'll still make heart-shaped something-or-others, and give a little gift, but now there will be a bigger meaning to it all.  And I'd love to get more ideas if you have any to offer.  


What's your favorite Valentine's tradition?


Dan.Eliot said...
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The Sneaky Mommy said...

Love these ideas! I think we're going to be copycats! I agree, Valentine's Day is too full of LOVE to skip over the most important love we could share with our children!
Noel Piper's book has totally changed my eyes toward traditions and holidays, too!

Lenae said...

You're right: Noel Piper's books is available to be read online. Here it is, for anyone interested after reading your post {Treasuring God in Our Traditions}

The Adeline book sounds very sweet, and perfect for introducing God's love into an otherwise very commercialized holiday. Honestly, I'm so personally turned off by Valentine's Day that I've never done anything to celebrate it in our house, but you've inspired me to try something new this year! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Love it. Going to be a copycat as well. Another idea: Make a "valentine from God," having each child list (on a big pink heart, maybe? I know, so original!) the ways God has shown His love personally to her. I think I'm going to do this with Titus. --Jess

Nicole said...

What a wonderful idea. I loved that book too and really want to incorporate more traditions or at least make the ones we have more meaningful. Of course, I may have to copy you too.

Amy@My Front Porch said...

Katie, I love this! I'll never forget my freshman year in college when my RA gave all of us Valentine's with I John 4:9 written on it. I had never thought about using Valentine's day to celebrate God's love for US! I love the idea of doing this with my kiddos. I wish that Adeline book was still in print! I looked it up on Amazon and it cost like $80 :) But I might just steal that "You are the one I'll always adore" line anyway. Thanks for the great ideas!

H-Mama said...

What a great idea, Katie. Some traditions are now well-thought-out in our family... I should look into doing some 'on purpose' and for a reason. Does that make sense? I'll have to look into those books. Pretty sure my girlies would love Adeline's book. :)