Guest posted by GFC…
………………………………………..“Be My Valentine.”
This is a phrase that conjures up a lot of different images associated with the celebration of Valentine’s Day. Cards with hearts and little poems on them. Candy and flowers given to someone you love. And images of cupids flying around shooting their arrows of love into unsuspecting youths. Young and old alike expressing their affection for their sweethearts. February 14th for many means cards, candy, flowers, and cupids.
Our Mothers and Fathers in the Christian Faith would be surprised at what has become of Valentine’s Day. What we call Valentine’s Day was at one time the Feast of St. Valentine. It was a religious holiday. They would be especially shocked at the use of cupid since he was a character from pagan mythology. For Christians in the past this holiday was a day to remember and celebrate the life and death of a Christian martyr. According to church tradition St. Valentine was a priest near Rome in about the year 270 A.D. At that time the Roman Emperor was imprisoning Christians for not worshiping the Roman gods. During this persecution Valentine was arrested. Some say he was arrested because he was performing Christian marriages, but others say it was for helping Christians escape prison.
During the trial they asked Valentine what he thought of the Roman gods Jupiter and Mercury. Of course Valentine said they were false gods and that the God that Jesus called Father was the only true God. So the Romans threw him in prison for insulting the gods. While in prison Valentine continued to minister. He witnessed to the guards. One of the guards was a good man who had adopted a blind girl. He asked Valentine if his God could help his daughter. Valentine prayed and the girl was given her sight. The guard and his whole family, 46 people, believed in Jesus and were baptized. Because these people had come to know Jesus, Valentine praised God right there in his prison cell.
When the emperor heard about this he was furious that Valentine was still making converts even in prison, so he had Valentine beheaded. Valentine knew that he might get caught in his Christian activities. He knew that if he told the court the truth about the Roman gods that he would be thrown in prison. And he knew that if he continued to witness to Christ in the prison he would make his captors angry. But he continued, because he loved the Lord and his fellow humans.
He was willing to risk his life to free the prisoners and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who needed to hear it. The Bible Says: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”(John 15:13) God showed us this love by giving us “HIS” Only Son Jesus, to die for our sins. And St. Valentine demonstrated this love when he died for his friends. This is the kind of love that Valentine’s Day is really about.
Christian Ways to Celebrate St. Valentine’s Day Give your life to Jesus: God and “HIS” Son are love and the source of true love. Jesus loved us enough to die for us and St. Valentine loved Jesus enough to die for God’s Truth. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day then to commit or recommit our lives to Jesus. Stand up for the truth and proclaim the Gospel of God’s love: Sometimes it is dangerous to stand up against injustice, hatred, and prejudice. Sometimes it is difficult to oppose the world’s view of things to proclaim the truth of God’s Love. But that is what Valentine did! Die to self for another: The Bible says that this is love that a person lay down their life for their friends.
I have counseled a number of couples before performing their marriage. Each time I have asked them if they would be willing to die for the other. Not once have they failed or even hesitated to say, “Yes!” In a clear cut case of life or death many would die for the ones they love. But in our day to day lives few are presented with a life or death situation. On the other hand, every day we presented with opportunities to die to self. In other words to sacrifice our wants for the wants of another. Try it this Valentine’s Day. Sacrifice what you want for what your loved ones want.