How do you feel about Valentine’s Day - this being Valentine’s Day weekend and all? I’ve observed three distinct attitudes toward this holiday. Some really love it and seem to outdo themselves each year celebrating it. Some hate it, often because they see it as superficial and trivial. Most people, however, seem to be somewhere in between these two extremes - they regard the day as a reason to express their affection for loved ones or friends. Couples may use it as an occasion to celebrate their relationship by doing something special together.
Here are some facts about Valentine’s Day you might find interesting:
· There are at least three “St. Valentines” in the Catholic tradition. No one knows for sure which St. Valentine the day is named for.
· February 14 was likely declared St. Valentine’s Day to Christianize a pagan holiday that celebrated love and fertility.
· Valentines greetings were popular as far back as the middle ages. The oldest known written valentine was penned by Charles, Duke of Orleans in 1415 to his wife who was imprisoned in the tower of London.
· An estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second biggest card-sending holiday of the year next to Christmas (when approximately 2.6 billion cards are sent).
· Women purchase 85% of all Valentine’s Day cards. (Check out History.com for more interesting facts about the day.)
Biblically speaking we could say that Valentine’s Day celebrates “eros” or romantic love. Romantic love is not a bad thing. However, as followers of Christ, we know there is a different and deeper kind of love. It is called “agape,” and it is characterized by the self-sacrifice that Christ showed when he died on the cross for people who had no claim on His love.
This agape love reminds us not to follow our culture by idolizing feelings of romance. At the same time it tells us that a Christian’s “eros” can be all the sweeter because it is shot through with an “agapic” willingness to sacrifice ourselves for those we love. This being the case, Christians should be better lovers than anyone! Perhaps there is reason to celebrate this holiday, after all. Have a happy Valentine’s Day.
– Pastor Tom
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