Our Valentine’s Tree: Celebrating God’s Love in Our Family

1 John 4:19

This past Christmas, we finally purchased something I’ve been wanting for years: an artificial tree that we could use to display our Christmas cards in the kitchen. I bought two boxes of clothespins and as the cards from our family and dear friends arrived in our mailbox throughout December, we clipped their cards to our new tree.

As we took our Christmas decorations down, I kept looking at that tree displaying the sweet faces of people we love so dearly, and I didn’t want to take it down.

And then it hit me.

Why not leave it up year round? Not only does it serve as a perfect “nightlight” at the end of the day, but I’d grown so fond of it sitting in front of our back windows. And, as much as we all loved it this Christmas, I thought to myself, isn’t there so much more we can do with it throughout the year?

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During the month of January, I used it to display the Scripture verses I was working on as part of Ann Voskamp’s Jesus Project. As I went about my daily work of dishes and cleaning and picking up tiny little pieces of scrap paper that my craft-loving five-year old would scatter about, I’d look up and see my verses – committing them to memory while going about my day.

Last week we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday. I chose a heart-themed party for her since we were celebrating so close to Valentine’s Day, and we used our new tree as the centerpiece of her party.

I purchased a package of foam hearts and printed some photos of her first year of life. Using the same clothespins we used for our Christmas cards and Jesus Project memory verses, each guest at her party wrote something they loved about her, chose a photo, and clipped both of them to the tree.

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At the end of her party, we had this beautiful picture of how loved my daughter is by our family and friends.

It was incredibly special.

As we approach Valentine’s Day, we will use our tree once again.

With a new pack of foam hearts, a stack of printed family photos, and the same clothespins we’ve been using since Christmas, we’ll fill our tree with special photo memories and we’ll write down reasons why we love each other.

“We love because He first loved us.” — 1 John 4:19

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family this year, we will use this verse to teach our children that God gave us the ultimate picture of love by sending Jesus to die for and rescue us. As we love one another, expressing that in big and small ways – on Valentines’ Day, on kitchen trees, on foam hearts and in a million other ways all year long – we get to celebrate the truest and best love there is.

The love of Jesus.

The one who first loved us.

Your Turn

What are some of your favorite creative crafts for Valentine’s Day?

Sarah Short

Sarah is a freelance writer, photographer, and recipe developer who has a passion for Jesus, her family, and good Southern food. If not in the kitchen whipping up her newest dish, you can find her cheering on her boys in basketball, shopping at Target, or sipping sweet tea on her back porch. Sarah lives in Raleigh, NC, with her husband Jason, four boys and a baby girl. You can read more at her blog, Short Stop, and join the Short Stop community on Facebook at facebook.com/shortstopblog.

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