We know Valentine's is a special time of year and we want to help you know how to use it as an opportunity for loving the people right where you live, work, or connect. I have designed a guide to help! Having a guide helps keep my thoughts organized in one place. It's really just a way for me to stop missing important details when I want to have a purpose-driven gathering for others. I'm an ideas person, so I put a ton of details as potential considerations. Some may be unnecessary to your situation; just leave those blank and move to something that would be helpful.
Guest post by Karen Guzman
I grew up in a house regularly filled with guests, whether for a meal or for a semester. So, when I joined InterVarsity staff and moved into my own place, it was natural to host students for meals, movie nights, parties, etc. Later, I began working with graduate students who tended to be on campus year ‘round. Work commitments and/or being from out of state or overseas make for infrequent visits to family. Working with international students, I discovered that many come to the states for school and return home without ever having seen the inside of an American home. Thanksgiving, particularly, became a focal point of ministry as I welcomed students into my home for a traditional American celebration.
It was spring again and time for the Annual Egg Hunt in the neighborhood. I was searching for motivation to get this one together...again...by myself. Years earlier when I hosted the first hunt, I had been told to call it an "Egg Hunt", not an "Easter Egg Hunt". I was not permitted to use special messages or symbols inside the eggs to represent the Resurrection of Jesus, in other words - no religious talk. I was told there were people of many faiths, and we did not want to exclude anyone. In addition, for the last two years it was around freezing on the morning of each hunt. Only a few brave souls showed up (got plenty of eggs), then quickly left for home to get warm. So this year I was less than enthusiastic about the gathering. After all, what was the point if I couldn't share the meaning of the holiday?
One year, I decided to change it up. Instead of just reading the book at Bible study, I contacted the husbands of the women of the group and ask them to help me. I sent a quick note to them that said, "Hello! This is Joan Parsons. I am hoping to surprise the ladies around Valentine’s Day with a note from their husband. Could you please take a couple of minutes and answer the question: What do you admire about your wife? I would like 2-3 sentences. You can send it via text or email."
The morning of Bible study came and honestly, I was overwhelmed.
The husbands were amazing with their words. They had taken time to be thoughtful and encouraging. I took each of their notes and reproduced them on pretty stationery.
"She is the most capable person I've ever met. There is absolutely NOTHING she can't accomplish when she puts her mind to it."
One by one, I read the notes aloud. We laughed. We cried. We shared a very special and precious moment together. One of the ladies said, with tears in her eyes, "I have never heard him say these things. This means the world to me." And she and her husband had been married for 40+ years!
Mr. Hatch strikes again!
Ask the Lord to give you creativity. He can do what you could never do on your own.
How have you marked Valentine's Day in your Bible study? Share your ideas with other leaders in the comments.