WELCOME to the shortest month of the calendar year!
I’m a huge fan of this month because it is home to my personal birthday celebration; however, for many of our readers, February is just a month to recover from the weeks of back-to-back holiday celebrations concluding 2017.
Congratulations Readers: you’ve made it through Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas 2017; here’s to the New Year, 2018! This is no small feat.
I secretly believe the folks in the greeting card industry did their best to promote Valentine’s, just because they believed we customers were eager to have another celebration to purchase extravagant gifts—flowers, stuffed animals, chocolates, cards, cards and cards galore. Forgive me, I may be the odd one out…but by February I’m finished with celebrations.
Confession: I have never purchased a Valentine’s Card, even for my husband. (Yikes!)
Call me crazy, but I guess I’m just hoping the residual euphoria of Christmas gifts may reverberate among my family and friends through March, at least; April, if it was a really, really good gift. From his amazing text identifying five love languages, Gary Chapman (Senior Associate Pastor at Calvary, Winston-Salem), might confirm “gifts” are NOT my “love language,” and thus I name my own struggle with this tiny month, whose only culture celebration points to consumerism and commercialism.
Here’s the itch: Christians celebrate God’s gracious gift to the WHOLE world in the person-deity Jesus Christ. Why would we dedicate this celebration time to recognize only ones we love? To clarify: to recognize people who very likely already know they are loved! Why not spend these 28 glorious days reaching out to people we often ignore, overlook or silence in the other—eleven—months of the year?
What would it look like for all Christians to claim February as a celebration of witness? To intentionally reach out to persons in our community who do not know the warmth and love of Jesus Christ? Who do not know the JOY of resurrection or the promise of new life and forgiveness?
What would it look like if every worshiping congregation in the Forsyth Family network claimed February for Christ—dedicated it to sharing the kind of hospitality we read of in the gospels of Jesus: welcoming the refugee, the prostitute, the homeless, the destitute, the hopeless, the weary, the broken, the lonely, the mourning?
So much of our culture associates Christians with the consumer-driven Christmas season of December. What if, instead of living into the old identity of the December Christmas season, we did something new?
What if we claimed February as our month of witness to celebrate God’s gracious gift of unending love and amazing grace? What if February were known, not just for Valentine’s Day, but by Christian communities everywhere as a time to live out our call as ministers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? What would it look like for Christians to claim these 28 days (and sometimes 29) for the reconciling ministry Paul wrote and taught us about? How might our world be different?
Please keep on the Sunny Side of Life and do all you can to shine bright this February.