Have you ever been curious about the origin of this 'fun to celebrate' holiday? No, it didn't start with Hallmark cards. Many of us can remember Valentine's Day from the time we were in kindergarten. What fun it was to make those lacey red hearts and decorate them with flowers and always the word 'love'. Most people think of this as a secular holiday, but just like there was a real St. Nicholas, there was a real St. Valentine. In fact, there were three St. Valentines! One was a priest in Rome, another was a bishop in the town of 'Terni' in central Italy. Both were martyred in the 3rd century and buried outside of Rome. The third St. Valentine was martyred in Africa along with several others. We don't know very much about these men; but we do know they all died for the love of Christ.
The customs connected with St. Valentine's Day probably originated in medieval Europe. There was a common belief in England and France that February 14th was the time birds began to pair, or 'court' their mate. The English poet, Chaucer wrote .....
"For this was on Seynt Valentynes' day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate." (Chaucer's original spelling)
How precious to stumble across things like this. The 'love-birds' no doubt were the genesis of the St. Valentine's feast; a special time for lovers. I wonder how many know that this special day devoted to love was named after martyrs for the Christian faith and their love of Jesus Christ?
It was probably the association of romantic love that led to the 'paganizing' of this martyr's feast. The Roman god Cupid (the counterpart of Eros in Greek mythology) became the focus of the celebration rather than the martyred saints. Interesting to note that a medieval book of stories about saints, The Golden Legend, tells of a priest named 'Valentine' who was imprisoned by emperor Claudius II for leading people to Christ. He had been heard preaching that Christ was the 'one and only Light'. The Roman officer who was questioning him happened to have a blind daughter...one of God's little coincidences...and he challenged Valentine to pray for her healing. The girl was cured, and the whole family converted to Christianity. This saint actually sent the first Valentine. He wrote a note to the blind girl and signed it...'From your Valentine'. It is a bit ironic that a Roman Christian who died defending the faith is now associated with Cupid; a pagan god. Our Lord has a sense of humor, He knows the real story will be revealed!
The hearts of these three St. Valentines were 'pierced' by the love of our Lord whose own heart was pierced and His blood shed for those who would come to Him. So, how appropriate that a red heart has become the symbol for this day of love.
*There is a principle here. God has a plan, He will gather together His sheep. He knows just how to bring each one into the fold.
Ezekiel 34: 12 - 'I look after my sheep'
John 10: 3-4 - 'He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out'
Isaiah 46: 11 - 'what I have planned, that I will do'
Psalm 33:11 - 'But the plans of the Lord stand firm FOREVER'
I personally find much peace in the fact that we have a sovereign Lord with a perfect plan. My plans don't always work out so well, but I know whatever is happening in my life is from His hand and for a higher good. Amen?
In Colossians 1:15 we find these words, speaking of Jesus - "He is the image of the invisible God". When we look in a mirror, we see our image. The image is us! Jesus is the image of God, Jesus is God and this is why we can depend on Him for eternal life. . .John 3:16.
I'd like to give credit for the St. Valentine's story to a website...'Women for Faith & Family', and also to the Book of Knowledge Encyclopedia.
And, I'd like to give thanks to a loving, faithful God who works 'all things together for good' for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose'. Romans 8:28
Thank you Lord that your love for your children permeates everything we do, and every holiday we celebrate. The world doesn't revolve around anyone but YOU.