There are varying opinions about the origin of St. Valentine’s Day. Some say it was named after a priest in the times of the Roman Empire named Valentine.
The priest served in the Roman temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. Valentine apparently defied the Emperor’s orders that all marriages were dissolved so he could enlist more soldiers for the Roman army. Valentine was caught secretly marrying couples against orders, was thrown into prison and ordered executed by clubbing and decapitation.
Wow, talk about dying for love!
It is said that just before he was martyred on Feb. 14, he sent a note to the daughter of the jailer, who had befriended him during his confinement, and thanked her for her friendship and caring, and signed it, “from your Valentine.”
Time marched on and regardless of any story, Pope Gelasius canonized Valentine on Feb. 14, 496 AD, for his undying love for others, and set aside Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. And the rest, as they say, is history.
In the United States, a Miss Esther Howland was the first person to send a Valentine’s Day card and commercially printed Valentine’s cards spread like wildfire across the country and Europe. It’s ‘big biz’ at its best now, even for the U.S. Postal Service, where Loveland, Colo., is overwhelmed with business from all over the country around Feb. 14. The spirit of love and goodness continues each year, as cards are sent, flowers, candy (chocolates of course) and jewelry are presented, Barry White and Johnny Mathis CD’s are played, and promises are made, all driving the economy as well as thrilling the hearts of millions of lovers and friends. What a rush.
Some traditions of Valentine’s Day include stories from as far back as the Middle Ages, where names of men and women were exchanged by drawing from a hat and each person would wear that drawn name on their sleeves for a week before Feb. 14. Thus the expression was born, “wearing your heart on your sleeve.” Some bird fanciers believed that if a girl saw a robin on Feb. 14th, “she would marry a sailor,” a sparrow meant “she would marry a poor man, but have a happy life” and a goldfinch meant “she would marry someone rich.” No wonder they are sold in Petsmart.
I wonder what a Buzzard means? I guess I’ll call my buddy in Gum Branch, he’ll know for sure.
Seriously, as believers, many of us believe that Christ truly wants us to “live, laugh and love”, to the fullest, on Valentine’s Day and every day. We hear this saying often, but what does the Bible, the word of God, say about living, laughing and loving? Here’s how you can do all three on this Valentine’s Day:
LIVE- And be filled with the spirit, as said in Ephesians 5:19
LAUGH- And 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 use this St. Valentine’s Day to rededicate yourself to the values of live, laugh and love. Rekindle a friendship or relationship that has gone astray in the past, make a call, send an email or letter and express your feelings. Make the first step. Apologize for a wrong or embarrassment to someone. Think about how you might have felt if the shoe was on the other foot. Hopefully, you and someone else will one day laugh about it all. Restart or prelaunch a goal you started, but didn’t finish for one reason or another. Rewind your thought processes regarding your approach to everyday life and everyone in it. Concentrate especially on those you know, are close to and even those you haven’t met yet. See how many lives you can change for the good from just knowing you.
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, in spite of who we are, where we have been and what we have done, as long as we believe. Accept Him as our Lord and Savior, admit we are sinners, accept the gift of His grace and live our lives according to His word.
What an ultimate Valentines gift. Looking for great gift ideas? Just look up.
Happy Valentine’s Day, and every day, to you and yours from the Stephen Ministry Team at Hinesville First Baptist Church. God loves you and so do we. If you or someone you know could use “caregiving that changes lives,” gender sensitive, totally confidential, free of charge and faith-driven, please call 320-7840 for a confidential appointment. Learn more about the Global Stephen Ministry program at stephenministry.org.