Valentine’s Day is just around the corner: red and pink hearts decorate the stores, roses are on sale and restaurants are booked.
The History of Valentine’s Day
Little is known about St. Valentine, whose “saint day” was transformed into the day of romantic love. There were several martyrs names Valentine in the early church.
One priest named Valentine was caught performing marriage ceremonies for Christians. Since serving Christians was a crime, but Emperor Claudius II was so fascinated with Valentine that he pardoned him. That is, until Valentine tried to convert the Emperor. That infuriated the Emperor who condemned St. Valentine to death.
Centuries later, Chaucer popularized the belief that halfway through the second month, on February 14th, the birds come out to mate. St. Valentine’s Day was transformed into a day of romantic love.
Romantic love is a glorious thing. God blessed Adam and Eve in the garden and gave to mankind the secretness and sacredness of marriage.
But all too often romantic love is degraded into lust and self-love taints even our love for family, friends or neighbors.
Biblical love is so different than the world’s cheap substitute! Several lovely bloggers have anticipated the arrival of Valentine’s Day with a series on Biblical Love (based on 1 Corinthians 13).
Kasey’s beautiful post, Love “does not seek her own” keeps ringing in my mind.
Love does not seek her own.
Love does what is best for others, with no though to how it will personally benefit.
A cursory look at my own heart reveals self-love and self-serving tainting even good actions:
- Did I take my daughter to the bathroom because I didn’t want her to wake me up later OR because she is beyond thrilled when she wakes up dry?
- Did I start dinner early so that my husband could enjoy a warm meal when he arrived home OR just to cross it off my list of things to do?
- Did I wrote a post because I think it will help me gain readers OR because I hope it encourages and blesses those who read it?
My love fails.
But, as Kasey said, “the indescribable love of God didn’t leave me to wallow in my wretchedness.” God’s Love points us back to Himself. To true selfless Love: giving His own self freely on the cross, to save sinners like me.
With the arrival of Valentine’s Day, my prayer is that God’s love will work in my heart so that, like St. Valentine, I do not seek my own: whether that means preaching to a cruel Emperor or washing the dishes cheerfully again and again and again.
Further reading on the origins of Valentine’s Day: