The story of Saint Valentine, for whom the holiday is named, is a vague one. It’s one that has several mixed up tales, understandably so as it’s from the year 269. A Pope established Saint Valentine’s Day in the year 496, saying he was among those “…whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” Some tales speak of a man who secretly married people whilst it was forbidden to wed.
While I am not married, I do wear a symbol of marriage on my hand. Not many people recently have remarked on the ring I wear on my “wedding finger.” While abroad I was asked about it many times, including one comment, “How is your husband?” I laughed and told the man that God was great. I took off my ring and held it in the air to show him the symbol that can be found in the middle: the trinity symbol. I told him that there is a verse in Isaiah (54:5) that says, “For your Maker is your husband–the LORD Almighty is his name…”. This guy had a lot of questioning looks and words. “So you don’t want to get married?” I explained that I do, but that God is the most important thing in my life, and the ring helps me to remember that. He still said that it scares away men when I wear it, but I told him that the man I marry is going to have to be brave enough to go through God to get to me. I am not ashamed of the fact that Christ is first and foremost in my life.
On a day like today when love is a cultural focus, we as Christians need to remember where love really comes from. God is love. Not only that, but he longs to be known by us. He is jealous for us. And our time. In this season of Lent, don’t forget to learn to love Christ more and more. Luke 10:27 tells us to love God with all of our heart (and soul and mind and strength). Can you imagine what our lives would look like if we truly loved like that? WOW. Lord, help us to love you!
Jesus’ words go on to tell us to love our neighbors as well. We’ve all heard the talk before about how the neighbor here does not mean the person who lives next door. It’s anyone. Anyone at all. I encourage you to take the time to show one random act of love today to a neighbor.
In all likelihood, when this holiday was established more recently, it was not meant to become this commercial form of love that it has become. In fact, when people started really celebrating it, it was set as the beginning of mating season for birds. While there is much uncertainty in the origins of this day of love, there is no question as to the origin of the one place we should seek for love on this day: in Christ.
Jean Komline is a former summer staff member who has spent several years serving as a World Gospel Mission missionary in Uganda. She blogs at Jean’s Joyful Journey. Image credit: Sandra Lee, via CreationSwap