Coming up this Sunday, we will celebrate Valentine's Day. It is a holiday that has been celebrated since the 5th Century. Toward the end of the 5th Century, Pope Gelasisus officially declared the 14th of February to be Saint Valentine's Day. No one knows for sure why Valentine's day came to be, but according to tradition, here's why...
The most popular and wide spread story about Valentine's Day revolves around a man name Valentinus, who was a priest that performed illegal marriages in Rome. The Roman Emperor Claudius II banned marriage in 268 A.D. He did so in order to strengthen the Roman army. At that time, only single men were required to join the military. Claudius thought to many men were getting married and dodging the draft. Valentinus, though, believed God's plans were greater than the Emperor's. That's why he continued to perform secret marriages for Christians. He was eventually caught and sentenced to death. Supposedly, while he awaited execution, he was sent notes from young couples thanking him for helping them express their love to one another in marriage. These notes were supposedly the first Valentines. Valentinus was put to death on February 14th, 269.
So why does this matter?
No matter the accuracy of the story, as followers of Christ, we are to be known for our love. We know that for certain...
john 13:34-35 (NASB)
34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Just like in days of Valentinus, our culture is attacking God's design for marriage and God's definition of love. We need to take a stand. For many, Valentine's Day is used as an excuse to act on lust. For others, it is a day that brings negative feelings and disappointment. In reality, it is just a day. But it is a day we can use to proclaim and demonstrate God's definition of love.
So starting this Valentine's day, regardless of our "relationship status", let's celebrate the biblical definition of love. Let's celebrate God's design for marriage. Let's love God with all our being. Let's love our neighbors as ourselves. Let's love one another. Let's love our enemies. And let us do it all for God's glory.