The Heart of Valentine’s Day

I always hate to burst bubbles but sometimes it is very necessary, especially when we celebrate Valentine’s Day.  For myself (and probably for most of us), I was raised to understand Valentine’s Day romantically.  But, Valentine’s Day is not about romantic love.

The holiday we celebrate, known as Valentine’s Day, is derived from the commemoration of St. Valentine, the martyr, which takes place on the 14th of February.  St. Valentine was a priest in Rome around the middle of the third century.  This was a time of persecution for the Christians, and in the year 269 A.D. Valentine was arrested and sent before the Prefect of Rome.  It was there the Prefect demanded that Valentine renounce his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and give divine honor to the Emperor. Valentine stood faithfully, and bravely clung to the name of Jesus Christ as his sole Lord. After many failed admonitions and warnings the Prefect finally gave the orders for Valentine to be beaten with clubs and then beheaded.  This transpired on February 14, 269.  It was much later, through the tales of Chaucer, that we first find any romantic reference to this day.

I am not going to be so bold as to say this day is not about love, or even romantic love, but it is first and foremost about faithfulness to the love of God!  St. Valentine knew that to be the truth.  He died for that truth:  the love of God in Jesus Christ.  C.S. Lewis sums it up beautifully,  “ God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that he may love them…the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up…Herein is love.  This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.”[1]  Remember the love of God in Christ this Valentine’s Day, for that is truly the heart of this holiday.  God bless.

 

Pastor Daniel Shaw

 

 

[1] Lewis, C.S.  “The Four Loves.”  The Inspirational Writings of C.S. Lewis.  New York: Inspirational Press,

1994, pp.281-282.

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