Today is a special day. It is Valentine’s Day. Today loved ones will exchange gifts, flowers, candy and more. They will celebrate with fancy dinners. These gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious Valentine and why do we celebrate this holiday?
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first “Valentine’s” greeting himself. While in prison for helping Christians escape persecution in Rome, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl. She may have been his jailer’s daughter. Before his death, he wrote her a letter, which he signed ‘From your Valentine.’ Although the truth behind the Valentine legend is not clear, the story certainly shows him to be a romantic figure. He soon became one of the more popular saints in Europe.
The legend of St. Valentine demonstrates to us our basic need for love. We are a people who desire, celebrate, and require love. We are created with the capacity to give and receive love. It is no wonder that when Jesus was asked, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”, he replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Laws and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
Jesus reminds us that love must be primary in our relationships. This holiday is not just about the candy, flowers and gifts, but about the need for us to show love to one another. It is an opportunity for us to put others’ needs and desires in front of ours. I want to encourage you to look for as many opportunities as you can to show your wives, husbands, children and neighbors that you care. Nothing lifts a person’s spirit like knowing that they are loved. Nothing lifts our spirits like showing others we love them.
Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship