Valentine's Day

Sunday, February 14, is Valentine’s Day! We suddenly see all of the red cards, bows, and roses flowing into the stores and, those of us who are married, are constrained, once again, to find the (expected) card and a small gift to remind our spouse that we love them. The greeting card industry “makes out like a bandit”! But why DO we celebrate this day? I tell my wife, at least once a day, that I “love” her. Why do we need a day to point out the obvious spousal, etc., “love”? “It’s a racket!”, we hear.

Like Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, the world has “kidnapped” Christian celebrations. Santa, the Easter bunny, and scary costumes have defined what once were sincere expressions of Christian faith. So, what is “Valentine’s Day” truly about, then, pastor?”

Glad you asked! (Not that you have a choice in my blog!) Ha ha….

Valentinus was a Christian clergyman who served in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, in the 3rd century A.D. Claudius felt constrained to persecute the Christian church. Remember, the Roman emperors declared themselves to be “gods”. While most, according to history, did not believe it, having a literal army to back up your claim really helped “persuade” opinions! And when the Christians professed the 1st Commandment and, “worse” yet, said that the way to eternal Paradise was by God’s GRACE through faith in Christ, the emperor “flipped out”! Christians were crucified, thrown to the lions for entertainment, burned alive at orgies, etc. Most of those persecuted were outspoken believers. Those who chose to remain in Rome suffered quietly; in their homes. But not Valentinus….

He was outspoken against the emperor’s edict that “no young men should be married” (because he felt they could fight better, not having “attachments” at home). Claudius’ son, Claudius II, carried through with the same edict. So “Pastor Valentinus” married couple after couple in Christ. He, eventually, was arrested and brutally executed. All for the sake of his Christian witness for the Biblical truth of marriage.

Claudius, by the way, died at the young age (in MY book!) of 44 years old; poisoned by a friend. Tough way to go. Few remember Claudius but people world-wide celebrate “Valentine’s Day”. But let us remember that he was a martyr for the faith; one who was willing, by the grace of God, to suffer death rather than recant the blessed, holy Word of Truth. So….get out there and buy that card (!!!), flowers, candy, (whatever….) but be sure, most importantly, to hold in your heart the TRUE meaning of this day. May the love of Christ constrain you, and me, to be like Valentinus; faithful to God’s Word. May we be so to His glory.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.