What is Valentine’s Day all about? Do you know? Something cooked up in the marketing departments of Hallmark, Hershey’s and FTD? Something about a Saint Valentine and a chubby little, winged baby with love-spreading arrows?
What exactly are we celebrating anyways?
I did some research (a.k.a. I went to Wikipedia.)
St. Valentine’s Day was initially started to honor one or more Christian martyrs named Valentine back in 496 AD. The romantic love we now associate with Valentine’s Day started somewhere in the 14th century, and appears to be more legend than anything. This legend tells of St. Valentine, a priest who was arrested and thrown in jail for marrying young couples. Roman Emperor Claudius II had outlawed the marriage of young men because he found that bachelors made for better soldiers. Further embellishment of the story through the years adds that Valentine gave a hand-written note to his beloved, the young daughter of his own jailer, on the eve of his execution and signed it “From Your Valentine”.
(Yes, there appears to be some pagan influences in the holiday as well. You don’t have to write me about them. I read that part too.)
There is very little to no historical basis for the story. So, is this whole holiday just a big commercialized crock?
Perhaps, but what is so wrong with a day to celebrate romance? A day to celebrate love and marriage? The ideal of Christian marriage is once again under attack, not by a Roman emperor, but by a culture that wants to redefine it, un-spiritualize it, or completely reject it.
Let’s take back Valentine’s Day! Take it back from over-commercialized, over-sexualized, over-dramatized version that the world celebrates now. Let’s not ignore it, gloss over it, or rush past it. Let’s get back to a few of those ideals for which the legend of St. Valentine was built on.
- The Hand-Written Note: Perhaps the most romantic notion of the St. Valentine legend is his hand-written note to his beloved. I promise you. Your words are better than Hallmarks! Why? They are real. They are true. They are from you.
- The Unexpected: Romance can be expressed in thoughtfulness and time, versus price tag. There is something innately romantic in the unexpected gesture. For instance, just this afternoon I sent my husband a text to ask if he had any meetings this afternoon. When he answered “no”, I asked if he’d be interested in going on a mini-date with me. I picked him up from the office and we had 15 minutes together as we drove through the nearest coffee house drive-thru. I had him back to the office before anyone knew he was gone. Fifteen minutes, $5 worth of Mocha Lattes, a hot kiss before he got out of the car…hey, in our stage of life, that is pure romance!
- Bless a Newly Married or Struggling Couple: St. Valentine was willing to risk his life to allow couples to experience the blessing of marriage. Who do you know that could use a little blessing in their marriage? Maybe you can forego an expensive dinner out as a couple and instead send a newly married and financial strapped couple a gift card for a date night? Or maybe you know a struggling marriage that could use some alone time? How about offering to babysit to give them an evening out?
- Celebrate the Marriages that Mentor You: Who has stepped in to support and pray for you and your marriage in a time of need? Who do you look up to when it comes to living out a God-centered marriage? Maybe it is your parents, grandparents, an couple at church, a neighbor or your Pastor. They might not do it perfectly, but you know they are taking a stand for marriage by staying committed to their own. A note of appreciation and encouragement could be a wonderful blessing to them this Valentine’s Day.
- Drop the Expectations: Nothing ruins a good effort towards romance than a pile of expectations. Why do so many men hate Valentine’s Day? It is the pressure! The expectation put on them to turn into Don Juan for a day! Just over a month ago, we all were filled with the Christmas spirit saying it was better to give than to receive. Still holds true on February 14th. Love given with expectation isn’t real love anyway. Give love, even if you don’t expect to receive it back. If you need some encouragement here, check out my post “Love Never Falls.”
T minus 7 days until Valentine’s Day. Don’t let the day pass by as just another day.
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