A little research on the origin of Valentine’s day reveals that Valentine’s Day, which we celebrate in February has a long history. Its roots have to do with a Christian Feast called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, which honors an early Christian saint named Valentinus. There is a legend that St. Valentine was imprisoned in Rome for performing marriages for soldiers forbidden to marry as well as for ministering to Christians persecuted by the Roman Empire. Further, a legend tells of Valentine restoring the sight to the blind daughter of his judge, and just before his execution in AD 269 he wrote her a farewell letter signing it “Your Valentine.”
In AD 496 Pope Gelasius I established February 14 as a day on which to honor St. Valentine. During the 14th century the day became associated with romantic love and by the 18th century in England couples expressed their love for each other by giving flowers or candy, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Love, they say, makes the world go around. But, what is love? The answer to that will depend on where you look and who you ask. Some would say it’s that wonderful feeling of euphoria you have when you look into the eyes of your significant other. It makes you kind of giddy; maybe even a bit silly. When “struck” by love you see the world as full of sunshine and rainbows. St. Valentine demonstrated the real meaning of love–a love defined by God’s Word. Listen to what St. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, writes:
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.—I Jn 4:9-11 (NKJV).
Love, then, begins with God. It is demonstrated to us through His great gift—His only begotten Son, crucified for our sins. If we get a glimpse of this love, we realize it is far more than being twitterpated over that ruggedly handsome face or someone’s ruby red lips. It begins and is completed in our sacrificial care for one another.
What does love look like in our daily lives? St. Paul breaks it down for us even finer: Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!—I Co. 13:4-8 Paul ends the chapter by telling us: “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”