Celebrating Valentine's Day

February 10th, 2021

Valentine’s Day is a fun day for celebrating love, while others find it an annoying reminder they aren’t in a relationship. It’s typically a day we associate with crowded restaurants and sold-out flowers, sweets everywhere, and gifts passed between loved ones. Why do we celebrate this day? 

The history of Valentine’s Day

It was initially a Western Christian feast day honoring a martyr named St. Valentine. The name Valentinus comes from the Latin word for “worthy, strong, or powerful.” One of the most famous legends of St. Valentine is that he was a priest who agreed to officiate marriages for young soldiers illegally. Emperor Claudius II forbid young soldiers from marrying in fear it would distract them from battle. St. Valentine went against the emperor’s order and married couples in secret. The emperor had him executed on February 14. 

Another legend suggests St. Valentine helped Christians escape harsh Roman prisons. After healing a prison guard’s daughter from blindness, he wrote her a letter and signed it, “Your Valentine.” Valentine’s Day is also believed to have started as a feast where some odd festivities played out involving goat sacrifices to increase fertility. During the Middle Ages, France and England thought February was the beginning of birds’ mating season, so they established a day of love. Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record St. Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration in his 1375 poem, “Parlement of Foules” (or modernized, “Parliament of Fowls”). 

Celebrate as God’s beloved

The history of Valentine’s Day is undoubtedly intriguing compared to the commercialized day it has now become. The love we celebrate on this day can make us feel worthy, strong, and powerful. However, it doesn’t compare to the worth we find from God’s unconditional love. The world tells us our worth comes from success, abilities, possessions, money, power, relationships, and even romance. The Lord tells us our worth is anchored in our identity as God’s beloved child. We are worthy of love not because of anything we do but simply because we belong to the Lord. We are worthy of love because Jesus chose us and claimed us as holy and beloved.

Question of the day: How do you or your family celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Focal scriptures: 1 John 3:1, 18-24; Colossians 3:1-12; Ephesians 2:8-10

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