Happy Valentines! Or good riddance to Valentines?! Valentine’s Day may be one of the most controversial mainstream holidays we have. One person plans an over-the-top romantic trip to Paris while another yells “booo” at their co-workers for smiling. It routinely lands in the top 4 holidays for candy sales and greeting cards, but what is this day really about? Where did it come from? Let me set the scene.
It is around 265A.D. and the Roman Emperor Claudius has made it a law that young men are not to marry. He believes that they will fight with more abandon in war if they don’t have a wife and family to worry about. This results in a culture that becomes more and more vile. Polygamy runs rampant. What is a young Christian person who wants to “tie the knot” supposed to do? This is where the true history behind St. Valentine comes from.
St. Valentine secretly married and ministered to couples in discrete locations so the Roman soldiers would not find out. He put his life on the line to help unite men and women in marriage and keep them away from sinful lifestyles. He did this for years, all hidden from the eye of Emperor Claudius. Unfortunately, he was found out. Claudius demanded that he recant his beliefs and become a loyal Roman citizen, but Valentine stood strong and because of that was put to death.
Valentine stood for something much bigger than him. He put his life on the line to marry people, tell them about Christ, and help them win against sin.
Before he died, he sent letters out to his friends, many of which he had the chance to secretly marry, and asked them to pray for him and all the Christians in Rome. He urged them to keep their marriages sacred and focused on Christ. He closed each letter with these words, “Remember your Valentine.” He was killed on the 14th of February in 270A.D. This is why we celebrate each year on that day.
Valentine stood for something much bigger than him. He put his life on the line to marry people, tell them about Christ, and help them win against sin. As servants in God’s ministry, we are doing the same thing, but it’s not only our lives that are on the line. It is the lives of each person we get to work with. Although we may not be administering their weddings, we do get the incredible opportunity to tell them about Christ and help them win against sin.
Thanks for being a part of this incredible mission, and I challenge you to tell your those around you, your kids, and grandkids the story of St. Valentine this year. And then give them those little chalky boxed hearts.