Our theme for this month: “Take care of each other”
Our Bible verse for today: “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Today is Valentine’s Day. It’s the day set aside each year to celebrate romantic love. There’s a good deal of mystery and debate surrounding the origins of this day. It certainly does have Christian roots, but there are elements of it that are pre-Christian also and which were born out of pagan mythology.
For Christians, Valentine’s Day is attributed to a mysterious individual known in the Catholic church as “Saint Valentine”. But even the Catholics can’t agree on which person in history that actually was. There were three men named Valentine, or Valentinus, from the third century who were all priests and who are all sometimes identified as the original “Saint Valentine”.
The most likely of the three was a priest named Valentinus who defied an edict from the Roman Emperor Claudius II regarding love and marriage. Claudius believed that unmarried men made better soldiers and therefore he forbade his soldiers from marrying. As you would imagine, this rule was very unpopular and so Valentinus performed weddings for the soldiers anyway, in direct disobedience to the Emperor’s command. Eventually he was arrested and executed for his disobedience. The Catholic church then declared him a martyr, made him a saint, and established a holiday in his honor. About 100 years later, the official date for Valentine’s Day was established as February 14th in order to offer the people a “sanctified substitute” for the Roman festival of “Lupercalia”, which was a fertility festival celebrated around this same time.
The figure of Cupid is often portrayed today as a naked chubby cherub (an angel-like being), whose job it is to initiate feelings of love in young couples. The figure was originally actually a depiction of the Roman god of love known as Cupid, and the Romans copied him from the Greek god Eros.
So, should Christians celebrate Valentine’s day? I think so. Valentine’s Day is all about love. In John 13:34-35 Jesus commanded us to love one another as He loves us, and according to Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, love is the greatest of all the virtues.
So, yes, use Valentine’s Day to celebrate love. But your focus doesn’t have to be on just romantic love. You can use this day as an opportunity to celebrate love in general. You can celebrate the love of God for us, and our love for each other. So, happy Valentine’s Day. God loves you and so do I!