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Parenting | 5 Minutes

Re-Christianizing Valentines Day | The Love Inn

Written by Ty Fischer
Re-Christianizing Valentines Day | The Love Inn

Title: Re-Christianizing Valentine’s Day: The Love Inn

In my last post, I argued for de-secularizing (or re-Christianizing) Valentine’s Day. The day celebrated a martyr who shared the gospel, faced death bravely, and gave the first Valentine’s card.

The secular world has excised the Christian meaning of the day and turned either into a day of schmaltzy love or, worse yet, of licentiousness and lust. If Dutch Theologian, Herman Bavinck, is right, then if we want to save all of the wonderful things in the modern world, we must re-Christianize everything that we want to last.

One important change would be re-Christianizing time and the calendar. Thankfully, we have a lot of gathered wisdom (and a little gathered foolishness) from 1500 years of Christian history. Let’s make Valentine’s Day step 1 along the path of restoring the Christian meaning of so many historical days and times.

To start this renewal, I wanted to tell you about one of the traditions that my family invented to make the day more enjoyable and to share the love of Christ and the value of true love on Valentine’s Day. This tradition might not be a great fit for your family, but maybe hearing about what we have done will help your family consider what would be the best way for you to restore Valentine’s Day.

Remember that the important principle beneath this attempt at renewal is to restore the Christian meaning of the day and to enjoy a life with Christ at the center of all that is worth celebrating.

Our tradition was called The Love Inn. The Love Inn started when my daughters were pretty young. My omnicompetent wife started to teach the girls to cook with her just about as soon as they could hold a stirring spoon. By the time Maddy, our oldest, was 10, she could cook well with a little help and advice from Emily. I think that the first Love Inn was a surprise to me. I came home on Valentine’s Day. Emily told me a few weeks before Valentine’s Day that she had made reservations (which was not normal). I came home, and we both got dressed up. We walked out to the car, and we backed out of the garage into the driveway; Emily said, “Ok, let’s go in. We’re here.” We knocked on the door we were greeted by a daughter who had been trained to take our coats and show us to a gussied-up card table by the fireplace that had been set with the good china and silverware in the proper place. They served three courses that night. At the end of the meal, one of the girls asked, “Are you ready for the bill, sir?” I said yes after praising the chef, the staff, and everyone who made The Love Inn possible. When the bill was presented, it was $38,462. I laughed so hard! It was a blast.

We had so much fun and planned to have The Love Inn again. The structure remained the same, but we started building in some other elements that could be used to aid our effort to re-Christianize the day. First, we added entertainment. The girls would come in a play their instruments or sing for us. Second, we quickly decided to branch out and invite other couples over for The Love Inn. The meals got more elaborate, the entertainment improved annually, and the bill increased.

Now, some of the ways you could re-Christianize Valentine’s Day would be by adding elements that we used but by being more intentional than we were. Here are a few ideas:

  • Choose Guests with Intention: Select guests that might have a hard time affording a nice meal or select at least one couple who are friends but who don’t know Christ. We usually had Emily and me, plus two more couples. Another great way to choose is to invite married couples who have had a positive impact on your children or community.

  • Help the Kids Retell the Story of St. Valentine or Act it Out: Parents need to help the children prepare for the retelling. Help them consider how to bring the focus onto history and Christ. If drama is not the right fit, have one of the children read a version of Valentine’s story. This can spur spiritual conversations.

  • Use Music: If your children can sing or play, have them serve as entertainment. Challenge them to learn songs that focus on spiritual truth. After each song, you or one of the children can explain the Spiritual meaning of the work.

  • Have Good Conversation Topics to Discuss: Discuss how each couple met. People enjoy telling this story, which is so fitting for the day.

Above all: have fun and aim for good conversation. The food is not as important as the feel. Emily is one of the best cooks I know, and she has passed that love on to our girls. If tenderloin tips aren’t your thing, have spaghetti or pizza or clam chowder and ice cream. The feeling needs to be that of peace, reflection, and fellowship.

Remember, all lasting joy is rooted in Christ. We can celebrate and feast because life is a comedy—in Christ, it has a happy ending. Just consider that God sent His Son so that the guilt of our sins could be justly put away. Jesus accomplished this by shedding His blood for us and taking the wrath that we deserved. In Him, we can know peace with God; by being at peace with God, we can be at peace with each other. Savor peace at your Love Inn evening.

Special thanks to Maddy, Laynie, and Karis (pictured). The staff of the first Love Inn. For context, Maddy now teaches Grammar School Latin at Veritas Academy. Laynie and Karis are in college. Elyse came along later and tilts more toward volleyball than cooking, but she did invent the most interesting “recipe” ever tasted in the Fischer home. Very special thanks to Emily, the Love Inn’s creator and sine qua non.