The low hum of busy children hovered in the background as the students cut & pasted Valentines. I'm sure my hair was braided in pigtails and I remember feeling the excitement of the day in my stomach. I was in first grade and this was the first class party that I had made it to. I remember the skinny freckled boy tapping me on the shoulder as he held out a small bouquet of plastic flowers. Horrifically, I also remember smiling at him and then promptly throwing up all over the poor child. Needless to say the teacher quickly sent me home after that. For whatever reason that year, I would get so excited for classroom celebrations that I would make myself sick. I think I missed every class party. Fast forward to the now adult me and I still love a good party. Thankfully I haven't thrown up on my husband yet. I know a lot of people disregard this holiday for different reasons. They think it's just a commercial gimmick or they don't have a special someone. For me it's a great reminder to take some extra time and effort to let my loved ones know just how much they mean to me. I start on February 1st with a little note. The next day might be an eraser or lolly pop and I continue every day with some sort of encouragement. During our morning Bible time we read through scriptures reminding us of God's love and how to love each other. It becomes an extra exercise of kindness and there is an added sweetness to the atmosphere of our home.
But God shows His love for us that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
There are moments in the days leading up to Valentine's Day that the boys are unruly or my husband and I don't see eye to eye. In these moments it can be hard to love them. The extra sprinkle of love may not be "deserved" but still it is given to them. I don't wait for them to act a certain way before I love them. God didn't wait for us to get our act together before showing us His love. He gave it knowing that not all of His creation would embrace Him. He knew what it would cost Him and still He choose to love. It is extravagant.
See what kind of extravagant love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
1 John 3:1
It is impossible for me to love on my family and not be overcome by the extravagant love of Jesus. He is the Father & the very definition of love. Love is sacrifice and effort. It is selfless. God the Father gave us love through the selfless sacrifice of Jesus. It is enough love; all that we need. But He does not stop there. Just as I spend little extra time in February to show my husband & sons that I love them, Jesus does the same for you and me. It may be the gift of sunshine warming our faces or maybe the answer to a prayer that our soul only whispered. Perhaps it's an overwhelming obstacle that melts with His provision or the sound of the wind dancing through the trees. It can be simple or it can be big. But it is all extra. It is all extravagant.
So no matter what your plans today, take a moment to soak in a sunbeam, let a snowflake kiss your cheek and the music of the breeze grace your ears. Let your soul breathe a prayer to be answered. Because today and every day, you are extravagantly loved.