Father Valentine

When I was a child, I looked forward to Valentine’s Day with great anticipation because I knew that Father Valentine would visit our house once it got dark. He would come bearing gifts not just for the children, but for the grown-ups, too. However, this was no ordinary gift-giving.

The delivery was surrounded each year by mystery and intrigue. Adrenaline would pump though my veins as my siblings and I waited for the knock on the door that signaled Father Valentine’s arrival. Hearing that knock, we would charge to the door and fling it open.

Speed was the essence of our response—because there would be no Father Valentine standing on the doorstep, but only a plainly wrapped parcel in brown paper tied with string. One end of the string would disappear into the shadows.

This parcel did not sit waiting to be picked up! Instead, it would be jerked away from us, pulled by the string. We would dive toward the parcel in an attempt to catch it, before it was swallowed up by the night. Seizing it, one of us would untie the string before the object could be tugged from our arms.

The name of a family member would be written on the brown paper, and inside would be an appropriate gift. This rigmarole of gift delivery would continue throughout the evening, sometimes with long stretches of time between each knock at the door, until each family member had received a present.

This was our encounter with Father Valentine. I loved this fun and intriguing character, although I never laid eyes on him.

This custom, I later discovered, is specific to the area of England where I grew up—the middle of the Norfolk countryside on the east coast of Britain. In America, I decided to carry on this tradition with my own children. But somehow the magic never transferred to them. They were absolutely terrified and ran in the opposite direction when a knock came on the door on Valentine’s Day evening, and so they never got to grasp and enjoy the gifts delivered by Father Valentine.

I tell this little story because sometimes we get the wrong impression about God and run in the opposite direction when he knocks at our door, only wanting to express his love and give us a gift.

Let’s spend the next few minutes remembering God’s love for us.

I’ve taken some words from scripture—that is God’s love story. Spend a few minutes reading them  here.

Or if you have few minutes longer, click through and watch this video:

Take time to listen to God’s message of love spoken to you. Let them move from your mind to your heart.

Linger over the words, as you would over a love letter. Believe them in your heart. Then go into your day knowing that you are special and loved by God.


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Prayers for Mothers and Grandmothers

adapted from my mother's journal.


Discussion

  1. Liz

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