Valentine’s Day and God:
Valentine’s Day—currently celebrated on February 14th—has a history not closely related to God. In fact, at many points in history it has been far from Him…
Originally a Roman festival to celebrate the coming of spring, Valentine’s Day—then Lupercalia—was largely focused on fertility. Because of this focus, how it was celebrated was, to put it bluntly, not exactly in line with God’s Word…
Over the centuries however, this Roman festival did change. First, in the 5th century with Pope Gelasius I replacing what the Romans had known as Lupercalia to St. Valentine’s Day. This name change was most likely made in honor of one of the many martyrs in the more Catholic traditions who were named Valentine—possibly a particular priest. Thus, for over 900 years this day remained as a sort of ‘holy day,’ the focus having shifted to a Christian martyr instead of spring and fertility…
Then, between the 14th and 16th century this changed again. Stories of the martyr Valentine that had circulated from the inception of St. Valentine’s Day—perhaps—were finally reaching a sort of culmination. One particular story of Valentine being a possible reason why the martyr Valentine had his day of remembrance turned into one focused on love; particularly romantic love…
The story goes… During the time of a Roman emperor, there was an edict/law causing many men to be sent to battle and disallowing men of fighting age to marry. For whatever reason, married—or perhaps only newly married—men would be exempt from this call to arms. Thus, to save the lives of these men and allow them to marry despite the ban, Valentine secretly officiated many marriages…
While there is no proof of Valentine officiating these secret marriages, the tale spread and many took it to be a tale of romance despite the main focus being on trying to lessen the number of men sent to war.
Interestingly, this return to a romantic focus quickly brought the celebrated day more to its original Roman festival ties—particularly with the introduction of Cupid, the Roman god of love, to things such as cards and confections between the 16th and 19th centuries, and on even to this day.
In the past century or two this special traditional day has changed further still…
While families throughout the centuries may have celebrated their love for one another on Valentine’s Day—not merely couples—today, it is even more prevalent; morphing to include a focus on friendships and platonic love in general. Thus—despite modern commercial abuses—the range and focus on love in modern times is, in many ways, stronger than it ever was.
So… What does this have to do with God?
Well, directly, the relationship between Valentine’s Day and God is slim at best. Yet, that does not mean that February 14th cannot teach us something about God… about how to be more like Him.
For instance, if we take the underlying intent of love with Valentine’s Day—being kind, giving extra care to those around us—then combine that with the love of our Father—the love He freely places inside each and every one of us—then, well… the day becomes special. As does every day we choose to implement His principles; taking a leaf out of His Book of love and spreading His light all around.
There are many ways we can do this, and the Holy Spirit is always there, telling us what acts of love, kindness, and compassion are ours to fill. We simply have to have eyes to see the openings and ears within us to hear what the Holy Spirit would speak.
Sometimes these acts will be so small that their importance can be easily overlooked. Other times they may feel so ‘grand’ that we think they are beyond us. Yet, God never asks us to do something that we cannot do with His strength and light within us. He never pushes us into debt, injury, or sickness. He only asks what He has given us the strength to do.
Sometimes it might be:
- Sparing a smile as we check out with our groceries
- Cleaning the house to ease the lives of our family or roommates
- Giving the person in front of us the few extra dollars they need to pay for their things
- Holding the door open for the large crowd behind us
- Volunteering our time at our church, local shelter, etc.
- Giving a small gift to those recovering from human trafficking
- Holding in a sharp remark when someone blatantly wrongs us
- Praying for a friend, family member, stranger, political leaders, etc.
- Gifting a kind word to someone having a hard day
While these are just a few examples of what the Holy Spirit might prompt us to do, they all share one thing in common… they spread the light of God’s love all around. Some of them we may never understand the importance of in this earthly life, yet, no matter how small, our actions when sprinkled with God’s love can start an avalanche.
One kind word can brighten the life of someone who is suffering, even prompting them to spread that same kindness to those around them… creating a domino effect of God’s love.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”—Micah 6:8
Opportunities to share God’s love through our actions, to be that light in the darkness… well, they are hidden everywhere. Sometimes, just as with the love of God hidden in a sunrise, or a flower, we have to have our eyes open. We simply have to be ready to act.
While Valentine’s Day has a dark history, some of which continues to this day… that does not mean it cannot serve a purpose. If we listen to the Holy Spirit we can use it as an extra reminder to be kind, to love those around us—an ‘excuse’ to start a pattern of love for the days to follow.
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”—Matthew 22:37-40
At Curt Landry Ministries we are always seeking ways in which to implement the love of God…
Because of this seeking, God has opened many doors to us where we can bring the light of His love to the darkness with the help of people like you.
Some of the ways we do this include:
- Caring for Holocaust survivors. Giving them warm meals, new shoes, blankets, etc..
- Caring and rehabilitating human trafficking survivors.
- Giving children, who otherwise would have no safe activities after school, the gift of music—by providing instruments and lessons.
- Providing lone soldiers with opportunities to enjoy a hot meal with one another—giving them a community environment that many would not have otherwise.
- Providing food boxes to soldiers who cannot afford to feed their families.
- Supporting safe houses for young adults who have no families to care for them; those who have reached the age of 18 and have no one to teach and guide them as they make the transition to independent living.
These are just a few ways in which we, through the support of people like YOU, shine the light of God’s love to those who so desperately need it.
With people like YOU we are changing lives!
No matter if you make a one-time donation to one of these programs or support them all monthly through our Covenant Partners program… we at Curt Landry Ministries want to thank you on behalf of all those you have helped.
Toda rabba (thank you very much) and have a blessed Valentine’s Day.
May God’s shalom (peace) be upon you.