Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Valentine (05/16/05)
TITLE: Be Mine
By Venice Kichura
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The scene was the same each year on February 14th when I lived at the Jester Center Hall at the University of Texas at Austin from 1969-l972. I remember the thrill of going up the elevator with my own bouquet one Valentine’s Day to show off that someone cared enough about me to send flowers. And, I can still feel the pain of those Valentine Days when my phone didn’t ring from the lobby to pick up flowers, or get that long-awaited phone call from that special boy.
Valentine’s Day is a day, especially in a college dorm, when you’re either overly ecstatic that your true love remembered you with Valentines, candy and flowers, or your heart is broken because you‘re the only girl on your hall that‘s empty-handed. Do we overrate this holiday? After all, a lot of hearts are broken on this day because they’re left out. Who started all this anyway?
Now for a little history lesson---The first true Valentine card was sent in 1415 by the imprisoned Frenchman, Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife. He was in prison because he was captured by the English during the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. To combat his lonely confinement he wrote romantic verses to his wife, while in his cell in the Tower of London.
That was almost 800 years ago, and the tradition of sending cards and gifts on February 14th has been going strong ever since. I don’t mean to debunk a popular holiday.-I’m just trying to say that a lot of the Valentine hoopla is based on conditional love---If you’re pretty enough, charming enough, hot enough, you rate and are remembered with flowers and candy.
However, God’s love is just the opposite---He chooses some of the lowliest individuals in society for his special Valentines.
Just look at some of the folks Jesus singled out. Take Zacchaeus. A tax collector, this guy was not only despised because he was the IRS of his day, he was, also, that “wee little man” who had to climb a Sycamore tree just get a glimpse of Jesus. Still, Jesus singled him out to be his special Valentine, inviting him to his house. As we read in Luke 19:1-10 “He entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble….”
Then there was the “woman at the well” that we meet in the fourth chapter of St. John’s Gospel. Not only was she a Samaritan, but she had a reputation for being promiscuous as she had been married five times and the guy she was shacking up with when Jesus met her wasn’t even her husband. She was so hated by society that she had to go out and draw her water at night when no one was around to taunt her. Yet Jesus not only took the time to talk to her, but offered her His “living water”.
Next time, you’re overlooked on Valentine’s Day, take heart! There’s someone who’s always your Valentine, every February 14th, as well as the other 364 days of the year. His name is Jesus and He took you, with conditional love, for His special Valentine more than 2,000 years ago when he shed his blood on Calvary’s cross. . So when you see the red hearts and roses, just remember the blood of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
And, when you eat that little candied heart with “be mine” in the center, just think of how God has called you to Himself--- how he has called you His own. "I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (Isaiah 43:1)
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