Yesterday I posted about my favorite February idea, the Valentine Advent calendar, where each person in our family writes down something he or she loves about each other person every day from February 1st to the 14th. (If you do the math, that means each of us, in our family of four, writes 14 x 3 = 42 love notes.) I came up with this about six years ago, and my family has grown to love this tradition.
So here's what's funny. Well, I'm trying to see it that way.
This year, the advent calendar idea is just not going to work for us. We needed a variation, something less demanding. God has been whispering this to me, and He knows I don't like change all that much. God knows I can hold on to things, even when they aren't the best choice, in the name of tradition or commitment. Well, we all know there is nothing wrong with a tradition or a commitment, until the cost outweighs the benefit of keeping it.
And I knew a few days ago, as we approached February 1st, that this was indeed the case this year. I'm not saying it was easy for me to let go of my expectations. My personality is a loyal one. I commit. I hold fast. I don't love to flex. (And perhaps that is exactly why God is asking me to practice just that.)
So is my post from yesterday a big sham? You can choose to think so. But my heart is the same, and we have come up with our 2012 version of sharing love and affirmations with one another.
Target dollar bin mailboxes and a bowl of valentine notes are out on display. They look adorable in my display. Anyone can write a love note for anyone's mailbox, any day of the month.
In this family, we are trying not to put rules or traditions or any activities above the good of the people themselves that those things seek to serve. We are trying to choose grace.
Grace leaves room for individuality in a home.
It leaves room for seasonality in a relationship.
It leaves room for weariness, or sickness, or circumstances that just are.
Grace sees people, accepts them where they stand, and flexes when necessary. It's favor, for no other reason. And that favor is at the heart of true love.
How on earth could I even say I'm celebrating love this month by neglecting to offer those around me grace, even when they don't want to do what I want to do?? I'm challenged and convicted by that thought in light of this month. Loving someone else is defined not only by my expression of love, but by what communicates love from their vantage point.
Perhaps letting go of the advent calendar tradition this year is the most affirming thing we can do for one another. (God, just let me bring it back in 2013! Just kidding. Not really.)