Happy Valentine's Day
By Johnny Angel
There are several stories of the origin of Valentine's Day floating
around. The good thing is that Jesus can be found in all of them.
Check these out:
St. Valentine Loved Christ
To be young, wealthy and in love-all in the third century. And
to be a Christian. Such was young Valentine. He would consummate
his great love by taking her as his bride. Soon he would be wed.
But his pleasurable, orderly world came crashing down around him
when the Roman emperer declared all Christians illegal citizens and
guilty of treason. All they had to do was say: "Caesar is Lord!" But
all they'd say was, "No, Jesus is Lord!" Rather than deny Christ, young
Valentine was arrested in the crackdown.
In jail, awaiting execution in the arena, he wrote love letters
to his girlfriend. Beautiful, passionate letters assuring her of his
great love for her. But theirs would be a love not lived out. Arms
never entwined in the embrace of husband and wife. On February 14,
269, young Valentine was put to death, martyered for Jesus Christ.
Since then, Christians have celebrated his fidelity to Christ and
romantic love on the 14th of February by sending our own love letters
to special people. And as we do so this year, let us, too resolve to live
for Christ unashamedly.
Let us recall that in our lives, as with young Valentine, there
will be unfairness, unfulfilled longings, loneliness, and yet, love.
Love more powerful than a tyrant's sword, more lasting than the
For in Christ and in Heaven we shall love God and one another for
all eternity. And nothing can stop us.
The Original Valentine's Story
Valentine was a priest near Rome during the rule of Emperor Claudius
II. Claudius had begun persecuting and imprisoning Christians for not
worshiping the Roman gods.
A few years before the onset of the persecution of Christians, war
broke out in the Roman Empire and Claudius began calling for all the
able-bodied men to go into battle. Many of the men were reluctant to
leave their families or their sweethearts. To remove this reason,
Emperor Claudius ordered that no marriages were to be celebrated and
that all engagements were to be broken off immediately.
Valentine, in addition to helping other Christians escape persecution,
is said to have begun secretly performing Christian marriages for young
couples wishing to marry in spite of the Emperor's ban. Valentine soon
had a reputation throughout Rome as a friend of those in love.
In time, Claudius learned of Valentine's activities and sent soldiers to
arrest him. During the trial, Emperor Claudius failed in his attempts to
get Valentine to renounce his faith and so imprisoned him.
Yet, even in prison, Valentine continued to minister to those with whom
he had contact. He ministered to his guards, one of whomm had
adopted a blind girl many years earlier. He asked Valentine if his God
could help his daughter. Valentine prayed for the girl and God healed
her, restoring her sight.
Emperor Claudius was furious that Valentine was still performing God's
ministry while in prison and ordered that Valentine be beaten with clubs
and beheaded. The order was executed on February 14, in the year
Valentine was made a saint by the Church because of his commitment
to his faith even unto death. Because of his willingness to risk all to
unite couples in marriage, he is known today as the Patron Saint of
people who are in love.
John 15:13 tells us:
The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give
his life for them.
There was a minister named Valentine who ministered to children. He
was thrown in prison for proclaiming the gospel message. The children
threw him notes of encouragement that told him they loved him. These
were the origin of Valentine's Day cards. He was executed on
February 14, 269.
Note: It's very possible that all three stories are about the same person.
I think the important thing to remember here is that it was about God's
love and the love He means there to be between a husband and wife.
Our society builds it up to be a big thing. They make it sound like
everyone MUST have a date or do something special. But I'm thankful
that we can experience Valentine's Day every day by allowing God's
love to work through us!