Yes, it's that time of year. Except for the little gifts that my parents leave on my dresser to find in the morning, Valentine's Day almost makes me cringe.... What do paper hearts, candies, and undressed angels armed with bows and arrows have to do with February 14th anyway? Who was Saint Valentine? By looking back in history, we can find a different kind of love displayed by a man named Valentine.
Valentine was one of the hundreds of Christians martyred in Rome for his faith. Demonstrating the utmost love for Christ, Valentine was killed for claiming Jesus as his Savior on the 14th day of February, A. D. 269. It so happened that Romans celebrated their festival of love on February 15th. Juno, the goddess of women and marriage, as well as Pan the god of nature, was honored. In Roman mythology, Cupid was supposed to be the son of Venus, the goddess of sensual love. Believe it or not, but our word romance comes from Rome. In 495, many years after Valentine's death, Roman Catholic Pope Gelasius announced February 14th as Saint Valentine's Day in exchange of the pagan festivals on the 15th. It was an act to Christianize a sinful tradition of Rome.
Today in America, Valentine's Day is commercialized –like every holiday. Truthfully, love is not something that can be sold. Remembering your sweetheart or loved ones is wise, and buying flowers and candy to show them that is precious. But how much further could we go as to love them with the greatest love and live each day putting their lives' first? Christ's words still echo through the ages in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Love is a daily sacrifice. Love has faith that sees beyond death to the eternal joy in living for others. When people sheepishly ask, “Will you be mine Valentine?”, do they know what they are requesting? They are asking for the love that is willing to die for Christ's Name sake.