Happy Valentine's Day
"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."1
Every February, throughout the Western World (at least), romantic greeting cards, flowers, and specially packaged candy are given to our loved one/s as an expression of our love, all in the name of St. Valentine.
And who might St. Valentine be? One legend says that he was a priest in Rome during the third century AD at the time of the Roman Empire and that he may have been thrown into prison and killed for helping Christians escape the cruelty of Roman prisons where Christian prisoners were beaten and tortured.
According to another legend, "Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl—who may have been his jailor's daughter—who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France."2
If truth be known, there's probably a mixture of validity and make-believe in all of these legends. Nevertheless it's a good thing to show and tell our loved ones how much we love and appreciate them, not only in a romantic way on Valentine's Day, but every day of the year. As Jesus commanded us: "Love one another as I have loved you." That needs to be applied at all times—a big order and a goal we all need to strive towards.
In the words of John Oxenham, "Love ever gives, forgives, outlives, and ever stands with open hands, for while it lives, it gives. For this is love's prerogative—to give, and give, and give."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for special days and special ways to show our loved ones how much we love and appreciate them. Please help me to love my loved ones and others as you have loved me every day of the year. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Jesus in John 15:12-13 (NIV).
2. The History Channel, www.history.com