Diamonds and Valentines

Marilyn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

What really makes Valentine’s Day happy? Is it being blonde and having a dozen men swoon over you? Maybe it’s being famous and hanging on the arm of someone equally famous? But, what about when you get old and no one wants to hold you up let alone swoon over you?
Is it receiving a diamond after the romantic dinner at the five star restaurant you can’t afford? But is one diamond enough? And how many karats does it take to be truly happy?
Is it falling in love and having that amazing chemistry for just one night? But, what happens when the night is over and you fall out of love?

Come on! Own up! What woman hasn’t dreamed of being decked out in diamonds and a too tight gown with drop dead gorgeous men at her beckon call? I know I have. And the movie producers, marketers and advertisers are counting on the fact that you have too. But, what if your man doesn’t buy you diamonds, or look like Channing Tatum and he certainly doesn’t answer to your beckoning? What if you don’t even have a man? GASP! 

Let’s face it. We aren’t happy on Valentine’s Day because we’re too busy wanting something else we think will make us happy. We want to be blonde or brunette or whatever we aren’t at the moment. We want to be skinnier or more curvy. We want the little black dress to be little, not a size 16. We want a five star dinner, not the Olive Garden…again. We want a romantic cruise to the Caribbean, not an overnight at Days Inn. And we want our man to be Brad Pitt, Tim Tebow, Josh Groban and Francis Chan all rolled into one. Instead, we have…well…just our average Joe. 

Shame on me! Shame on you! We’re so busy wanting what we don’t have that we can’t have any kind of true joy in what we already got!

It took me more time than I will ever admit and more hard lessons than I ever want to do again, but I think it is finally sinking in.

There is only one way to be truly happy on Valentine’s Day and that is to know the One Who makes the heart glad no matter what day it is, no matter what the circumstance is and no matter if anyone else even cares you exist. This One, this Jesus is a shelter and refuge to those who love Him and exult His name. 
Now that’s something to sing about!

But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them; that those who love Your name may exult in You. Psalm 5:1 (NASB)

Wake Up! Be Happy!

 My all time favorite movie is Anne of Green Gables. I like it because Anne reminds me of me. No I am not an orphan. No I don’t live on a farm. I don’t even have red hair. What we do have in common is a vivid  imagination, a love of words AND the trouble we sometimes find ourselves in because of that combination. And I think we are both morning people!

One of my favorite lines in that movie is from the scene where Anne and Miss Stacy are walking along a path after Anne has been falsely accused and forbidden to see Diana, her bosom friend. Miss Stacy is Anne’s new teacher and has a few troubles of her own, so she can speak from experience the advice she is about to give.

Miss Stacy, “You can always start everything a-fresh tomorrow.”

Anne, “That is a tremendous consolation, Miss Stacy. Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it.”

Miss Stacy, “With no mistakes in it, yet.”

 So whether you are a morning person or a night owl, you can take this advice to heart. You don’t need to despair when that alarm clock goes off. This new day is fresh with no mistakes in it!

But, we do need to consider Miss Stacy’s disclaimer, “No mistakes in it, yet.”

Without God, that little disclaimer can throw the proverbial wrench directly into our wake up chain. As humans it doesn’t take us long to make new mistakes, sometimes even before we get out of bed! But with God we can rejoice that He has covered each and every mistake with His Son’s blood and His compassions are new every morning!

“Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently For the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations. 3:20-26 (NASB)

The Glad Passages

One of my favorite childhood movies was the Disney production, Pollyanna; a whimsical story of a little orphan girl being shipped to her grouchy aunt and turning the town upside-down with her positive attitude encouraging everyone to play the glad game. This game is always looking for the good in people and in life.

The principle of the game is actually referred to as the Pollyanna Principle referring to people who always have a positive attitude even in negative situations. It is interesting that if one is referred to as behaving like a Pollyanna, it is often not a compliment. The inference is that this person is not in touch with reality and refuses to own to the seriousness of any given situation.

The conclusion of the movie would support this inference as sweet little Pollyanna is whisked off on a train on her way to surgery on her spine because she is paralyzed from a fall. She is smiling and waving, hugging her now not grouchy aunt. She is oblivious to the fact that she will be knocked out, cut open and has slim hopes of ever walking again. So, the cynic would lament.

Why could Pollyanna smile and wave in such dire circumstances? Was it because she was going to have steak and ice cream every day? Was it because the town was all happy and glad because of her influence and they came out in droves with presents and well wishes of good health? Was it because she finally had the love of her Aunt Polly?

Or was it something else? Something much deeper and fuller and stellar? Something the producers hinted at, but didn’t, for whatever reason, really give clarity to?

Pollyanna’s deceased father was a minister. Of what denomination we don’t know, though the minister of the town was probably Episcopalian. In a scene between this minister and Pollyanna she tells him why she started playing the glad game. She tells him that there are 800 happy texts in the Bible. He looks at her blankly and she says, “You know. ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ or ‘Shout for joy’.” The scene goes on and ends with the minister alone in the field with the realization that he was in the pocket of the grouchy, cynical aunt and he was a grouchy and cynical preacher.

These wonderful Scriptural passages are overshadowed by the overriding theme of the movie that everyone has good in them and if we just search for it all that good will simply overflow. Amazing how an important biblical truth can be twisted to appease man’s lust for himself.

Man is not basically good. He is evil. “All have sinned”, “The heart is desperately wicked.” We can look all we want for the good in people and in every situation. And we may even  find gladness from time to time. But, people and this life will many times over disappoint, beat us down and leave us for dead.

The only foundational and unmoving reason to be glad and rejoice is found in Pollyanna’s quick and minimized partial quote of Psalm 97:12…

“Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.”
Only in God can we be truly glad and full of joy. It doesn’t come from any good we might find in people or things or circumstances. I know this not only from the myriad of Scripture that speaks to this, but from my own experience. You see, over the last dozen years or so, I have been that grouchy, cynical person who called themselves a realist. But the true reality was I sought happiness outside of the person of Jesus Christ, mostly in material things and fanciful thinking.
This caused, as I mentioned in my last post, a lot of worry. Not only have I learned not to worry this past year, but I have also learned how to truly be glad, to have deep and rich joy!
I have no idea if there are really 800 happy texts, but I am going to saturate my thinking and my life with the only One who can keep me eternally glad, Jesus the Christ. So, throughout 2012 I will be posting numerous happy texts and trust they will encourage you to seek Jesus and His holiness.