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The Cookie Jar

How do you celebrate Valentine's day or do you even celebrate at all? It is typically thought (by men) that it is a holiday drummed up by the greeting card companies to increase sales of cards, and this is most likely true although there is a beautiful ancient story about St. Valentine you can Google and read. If you think about it that is the reason for most of the push towards advertising the celebration of all our major holidays, to make money. But still, I like the idea of flowers and candy, dinner for two and all the romance flowing on February fourteenth; it is simply the sweetest day. Do I need all the romance, flowers, and candy, no, actually I do not. As it happens, my husband is not exactly a romantic, but what he lacks in romance he more than makes up with love, gratitude, and attitude. I have come to realize that love is an attitude. The feeling of love is an emotion, the act of love is a verb, but the essence of love is attitude.

The definition of attitude: a settled way of thinking or feeling about something or someone, typically one that is expressed in one's behavior. There are obviously many ways to express our attitude of love for each other, whether it is a romantic relationship, a blood relationship, or a spiritual relationship; each one offering its own unique style of expression. Romantic love is shared between a man and a woman who are drawn together for two reasons, physical attraction and spiritual similarities. Love shared between two or more people due to their beliefs is a spiritual love. Finally we have the connecting love between family, brothers and sisters who share their past through memories, their present by keeping close, and their future through their children and grandchildren. Loving relationships have long standing attitudes of peace, understanding, and faithfulness; even more so I think they are filled with an awareness of each other's hearts and desires.

That brings me to the cookie jar. An old cracked container that although not an antique it was a piece that was a beautiful memory from my mother's kitchen. The cookie jar was given to my sister years ago by our mother because she had always said she would like to have it for her own. It sat on her kitchen counter for years until just a short while ago, when with her own generous nature she gave it in a show of friendship to her new neighbor. They had just gotten to know one another when her friend noticed the cookie jar and excitedly exclaimed that her mother had had one just like it and so after thoughtful consideration, my sister gave away her favorite memory piece. Unfortunately the friendship between the two did not last and this part of the story I will omit, only to say that my sister's generousity was something she did not regret.

A few weeks ago while shopping at a local antique shop, I ran across an identical cookie jar and excitedly discovered the price was more than affordable so I purchased it for my sister. Although it was the same cookie jar, instead of being cracked, it was stained. I almost hesitated giving it to her, but after praying and thinking on it, decided it would make a special birthday gift. My sister agreed. She was so happy to have another cookie jar, and although she and I both know it is not the very same one our mother had used, it now held an even deeper meaning and message of love between two sisters. A friend that my sister told the story to just the other day expressed it this way, "Now that's love!" She could have said, "Now that's a great attitude!"

Love is a deep expression of our attitudes towards each other and no where do we find that expressed in any greater way then through the love of Jesus for each of us. His love was an attitude that was a beautiful expression of physical, emotional, and spiritual love, even a touch romantic too. Through physical love God made himself flesh to sacrifice his life on the cross, through emotional love we read in scripture Jesus cried out to God for forgiveness for us even while on the cross, through spiritual love he gave us the Holy Spirit, and through romantic love in that God prepared before creation the story that was always written for the sacrifice of his only Son, which was the only way to show his abiding love for his children.

A simple cookie jar, a sister's love, a husband's attitude whether romantic or just loving, and a Savior's sacrifice, these are the best things to think about on Valentine's Day. An opportunity arises to celebrate love of every degree, show appreciation through a card, flowers, candy, or invent a beautiful new way to express your love, but never forget that love is not merely a verb, an action, it is an attitude...