St. Valentine’s Day is a day of celebration throughout the United States and many other countries, as well as a part of the traditional worship of many denominations throughout the world today. Over the years I have read many accounts of who Saint Valentine was, what he accomplished, how he died as a martyr for his beliefs, and how we ended up with religious and secular holiday’s honoring him.
One those noted and recorded traditions is that in the 4th century A.D. Valentine was a Priest, that felt loving and healthy relationships where essentials to one’s wellbeing. Tradition talks of Priest Valentine preforming marriages for soldiers in the Roman Army that by decree of the Emperor Claudius where forbidden to marry. There is no record of such a degree. However, this has remained the focus of the story. He also performed weddings for the persecuted Christian throughout the region that where denied the right to marry in the church due to their beliefs. Sadly, the legends and myths of this man of God have overshadowed the truth and reality of who he was.
Today Valentine’s Day is a holiday that makes millions (if not billions) for businesses around the world from, cookies, candies, cards, teddy bears, and hundreds of other items. The fact there is word Saint in front of his name is lost, with most people not even realizing the importance of the religious connection of this day.
Maybe it is time we return to traditional roots of St. Valentine’s Day. As I read the legends, myths, and historical accounts I see three things that stand out to me about the man and this concept of love and his ministryHe had a compassion and love for the Lord he served, and encouraged others to share their love and faith about Christ not only with their loved ones, but with friends around the world.
- He had a strong sense of traditional marriage, to the point that if the legends are correct he would defy the very law of the land and preform traditional Christian weddings for Men and Women that government deemed inappropriate.
- He would stand upon the conviction of the scripture that marriage was between a man and women, and be willing to be persecuted and martyrd for his conviction.
- He would have disagreed with what St. Valentine’s Day has become the holiday of mega-money. However, he would have most likely been pleased that the tradition of expressing love and kindness for someone you love has continued throughout history. Of course he would tell us we should do that every day.