The 14th February has become the day in which romance and love is celebrated in most countries around the world. It has been so commercialised that it’s the largest event after Christmas for the buying and sending of cards and presents!
But is this really what it’s all about?
It is actually a Christian Festival, commemorating a couple of saints named Valentine who were put to death for their faith, with at least one of them being martyred on 14th February.
The reason St, Valentine’s Day became connected with romantic love is not certain. One of the martyrs was said to have written a romantic letter to his jailer’s daughter on the eve of his execution signed ‘from your Valentine’. Another story has it that St. Valentine defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare the husbands from war.
However it came about, we’ve come in our society to celebrate love as an emotional feeling on this day - something for lovers. But love as expressed in the Bible is not so much something we feel but something we do. It is an action. Think of all those commands ‘love your enemies’, ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. This is not about having ‘gooey’ feelings about them, it is about doing the best for them, whatever feelings we might have about them. This completely changes our Western concept of love. Indeed it would radically change the way society works if we took this seriously and put it into practice.
Whether this Valentine’s Day you will be exchanging a card with someone special or whether it’s a day that makes you a bit sad in losing a love: It is nevertheless a great opportunity to make an effort to show love, for family, friends, or neighbours, by our actions.