Valentine’s Day, widely known as the day of love is here again. However, one question begging for an answer is, how should Christians celebrate the season of love? What attitudes and actions should a Christian exhibit this yearly season of love?
The internet is awashed with different versions of the origin of the Valentine’s Day and the inspiration behind the day. The Catholic Church recognizes about three different martyred saints one of which is Valentine or Valentinus.
One legend accounts that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome when Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, hence, outlawed marriages for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other legends suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl, possibly his jailor’s daughter who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it was alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
The truth however is that, whether the origin of the Valentine’s Day was ever religious or not, the day has now become a full blown secular holiday. This day, according to contemporary trends, is marked with exchange of love greeting cards, bouquets and mostly, the historical day is bastardized with carnal actions.
Regardless of your stance on the significance of the day as a Christian, it is pertinent to understand why you should celebrate Valentine as against confining your beliefs to its romantic colouration by the secular world.
This day could be used to fill a void in someone’s life such as the homeless, downtrodden, widows, and orphans amongst others by expressing love to them. Show gratefulness to your parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or even friends and share with them the love and affection you would give to your spouse and children. This day should serve as a reminder of God’s love to us. True love is precious and it has the capacity to inspire, encourage and heal.
This however, is not to portray the impression that celebrating Valentine with your other half is wrong because romantic love was given to us by God. What is to be put in practice is that just as He loved us, you should do the same.
Christianity teaches one to love unconditionally but if we don’t follow that holy command, it is impossible to make disciples into God’s kingdom.