The phrase “be my Valentine” conjures up so many different images associated with the celebration of Valentine’s Day: cards with hearts and sugary poems on them, candy and flowers from someone you love, and images of cupids flying around shooting their arrows of affection for their sweethearts. February 14th is represented as the holiday of love, at least by the card and candy companies!
A Legend of Love
According to tradition, Valentine was a priest in Rome in the third century. At that time Rome was having difficulty getting soldiers to join the military because their spouses objected to them leaving their families. Marriages were therefore outlawed. Valentine defied the government by conducting weddings, but when discovered, was put in jail.
One legend has it that Valentine ministered during his jail time. He witnessed to the guards, one of whom had an adopted daughter who was blind. As the story goes, Valentine prayed for the girl and she subsequently regained her sight. The emperor ordered Valentine beheaded, but in his last days, Valentine left a note for the young girl which he signed “from your Valentine.” Valentine was made a saint by the Roman church after his death.
By the 18th century, it became popular for those in love to exchange tokens of affection “from their Valentine.” You would think the hearts and flowers of the holiday would turn our heads toward thoughts of love and marriage, but it often has the opposite effect. Those who do not receive some tangible, even expensive, gift may feel disappointed. Those who are single may feel left out. The beauty of love is reduced to a need to receive physical evidence that someone truly cares for us.
A Love that Calls Us His Own
Christians need to keep a close eye on our feelings during this holiday. Without proper perspective, this holiday can become idolatrous. We are the church, the bride of Christ. Married or single, in love or hopeful, Christ calls believers His bride. We are His…