Last week, sweethearts around the nation celebrated the most romantic of holidays — Valentine’s Day. The origin of St. Valentine’s Day is uncertain. It’s been said that it was named after a Roman Empire-era priest named Valentine, who supposedly defied the emperor’s orders to outlaw marriage so more soldiers could enlist in the Roman army. The emperor supposedly believed married men made poor soldiers, according to www.linguatics.com.
When Valentine was caught secretly marrying couples, he was thrown in prison and ordered executed. Wow — talk about dying for love!
Just before he was martyred Feb. 14, 270 A.D., he is said to have sent a note to the daughter of the jailer, who had befriended him during his confinement. He thanked her for her friendship and signed the note, “from your Valentine.”
Pope Gelasius canonized Valentine on Feb. 14, 496 A.D. and designated Feb. 14 St. Valentine’s Day.
In the United States, Esther Howland reportedly was the first person to send a Valentine’s Day card, according to www.emotionscards.com.
The spirit of love continues each year as valentines, flowers, candy and jewelry are sent and received by couples, family members and friends. But that celebration of kindness and compassion doesn’t have to end on Valentine’s Day.
As believers, many of us understand that by living our faith, God truly wants us to live, laugh and love on Valentine’s Day and every day. We hear this saying often, but what does the Bible say about living, laughing and loving? Here’s how you can do all three every day of the year:
Live: “And be filled with the Spirit.” — Ephesians 5:19
Laugh: “He will fill your mouth with laughing and your lips with rejoicing.” — Job 8:21
Love: “Give to everyone who asks you … and just as you want men to do to you, you do also to them likewise … love those who don’t love you, and your enemies; do good, lend and not to be hoping to receive in return … and your reward will be great with the Lord … therefore, be merciful, just as your Heavenly Father is merciful.” — Luke 6: 30-36.
Why not treat every day like it’s St. Valentine’s Day and rededicate yourself to the values of living, laughing and loving? Make a call, send an email or letter and express your feelings. Make the first step. Apologize for a wrong. Restart or resume working toward a goal you set for yourself but never reached. Rewind your thought processes regarding your approach to everyday life and everyone in it.
Live, laugh and love everybody! Practice these three words in your life every day. Know that God truly and deeply loves each and every one of us, no matter where we have been and what we have done. We must believe in His son, Jesus Christ.
If you or someone you know could use confidential, gender-sensitive, free, faith-driven care, call 320-7840 for an appointment. Learn more about the Stephen Ministry at stephenministry.org.
Scherer is a crisis intervention minister and the leader of the local Stephen Ministry.
Editor's note:: Excerpts of this column ran in a February 2011 edition of the Coastal Courier.