More than 150 million cards will be exchanged for Valentine’s Day. The fancy restaurants will be packed, the jewelry stores are running ads, and, if you haven’t bought a card yet, this is your full-service blog post . . . encouraging you to stop by the store while you still have a selection to choose from.
Let’s not allow the real meaning of the holiday to get lost on the way to the mall or become another task on the to do list. Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the love we have for others. 1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love.” Jesus said the most important commandment was to love God and love others.
There are a lot of stories about Saint Valentine, but very few we could guarantee factual. Tradition has several theories about the saint(s). The most common legend teaches that Valentine was a priest who served under the Roman emperor Claudius II. Claudius decided that unmarried men made better soldiers so he passed a ruling that prohibited young men from marrying. The legend says that Saint Valentine refused to heed Claudius and was martyred for continuing to perform weddings.
Other stories tell about a Saint Valentine that helped Christians escape prisons where they were persecuted for their faith. Another tells of a man named Valentine who sent a note from prison to the jail-keeper’s daughter declaring his love for her. The note was signed, “Love, your Valentine,” and that is why we are supposed to send cards. (Saint Hallmark might have created that legend!)
Even though the truth about the holiday is cloudy, the legends surrounding Valentine’s Day each emphasize the importance of love and the priority it should have in our lives. God is love. The God of the universe loves us with the most perfect love possible. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). As I think about the people I will give a Valentine card to, each of them is a person that I love. But recently a friend suggested another card that I will buy as well. That suggestion prompted this blog post.
Whom do you know that needs to be loved? Whom would you want to share the love of God with, and this holiday might be a perfect time? God is love. The world will recognize we are Christians when we share God’s love. Maybe this holiday should be a bit larger and more widespread than our own small circles. Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “To love someone means to see him as God intended him.” Who comes to mind as you read those words?
This year, a new Fifty Shades movie will open in the theatres. The title of the movie is Fifty Shades Darker and, sadly, the main character is named Christian. Satan has always tried to obscure God’s message with his own. We can complain, boycott, and be discouraged by Satan’s work, or we can bring light to the darkness. I choose to think of Satan as a big ugly cockroach—threatening in the dark but running as soon as the light comes on.
Everyone wants to be loved and no one wants to be lonely. Valentine’s Day is a perfect holiday to allow God to use you as a witness to his perfect love. Love God with everything in you. Love others like God loves them. Let people know you are a Christian this Valentine’s Day by sharing God’s perfect love with them.
So, this is the first Valentine that I will share this year. Consider this my Valentine’s wish for each of you, my readers. It is based on 1 John 4:7–12, and I imagine this to be an expression of love from God, to each of us, his beloved.
To my beloved…
Love one another with the love I create in you.
You know me, and you know you are adored.
So love others because you are secure in my love for you.
I proved my great love, by giving you my Son.
I always planned for you to be with me, eternally.
When I gave you Jesus, I gave you my deepest expression of love.
Beloved, my love is yours, and it is yours to give away.
People all around you need to be loved, and need to love each other.
Always remember, my love is completely yours,
And you are gifted to love others; completely.
I will love you always,
May his love fill your holiday, and your life, with love for others. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Join us at www.christianparenting.org and chime in on this week’s discussion question: How can you help your children celebrate Valentine’s Day?