Written by Shawn LaVie of Mermaid, PEI

In the spirit of the renewal of another year, let us pray and reflect that we will be renewed as well, as the Holy Spirit does His work in us.

Give yourself a moment to reflect on the past year and celebrate successes and goals that were obtained, advances in knowledge and wisdom, or anything you may be thankful for.

Let’s give gratitude to God for another year on this earth, getting a chance to accomplish His will. Let’s also learn from our mistakes and not let bad times that may have happened over the last year get us down. If you had a bad year, I pray that you are given the strength to persevere and give your hardships to God.

I pray that this year may be very fruitful for you.

The Gospel of Luke includes instructions from Jesus about holding a luncheon and inviting friends, family and rich neighbours (Luke 14:12). Keep in mind that Jesus Himself is giving these instructions to a group that’s having a get together for dinner at a Pharisees’ house – who is in a leadership position.

What is being taught by Jesus here is that this type of kindness does not come from a charitable heart. Inviting friends, family and neighbours who may have plenty leaves room for a return invite. If we invite someone who is in need, then it’s to be expected that we will not get an invite to their place because they may have nothing to give.

This passage is to remind us where our focus should be and not to neglect or forget strangers who may need our help. A great example of this is Valentine’s Day. Where I grew up it was tradition for the students to exchange Valentine cards. I remember making cards with my mother and father and always wondering how many cards I might get in return from the other kids in class.

This thinking is exactly what Jesus is warning us about. It’s a great opportunity to be humble and kind – giving with a cheerful heart not necessarily expecting anything in return.

So, this Valentine’s Day let’s not forget people who may be in the most need of a Valentine’s Day card, even if they are complete strangers.

Everyone deserves to know that they are loved. We Christians have been commanded not to let the world forget this.