Why is Tuesday called ‘Valentine’s Day’? Because it is named after ‘Saint Valentine’ … but his story is not what you might expect!
Valentine (Latin: Valentinus) was (probably) an Italian Christian who was born about 226AD. He was a Pastor (or possibly a Bishop) who ministered to persecuted Christians. He was martyred in about 269AD and his body buried on February 14. The Feast of Saint Valentine (‘Valentine’s Day’) has been kept by some parts of the Church on February 14 since 496AD.
So, Valentine’s Day originally had nothing to do with chocolates and cards and flowers and romantic dinners etc. It was about giving thanks to God for a person who gave their life for Christ and his people in sacrificial love.
It was only in 14th Century England that Valentine’s Day became associated with romantic love. Basically, many legends associated with Valentine were invented by Geoffrey Chaucer (of Canterbury Tales fame) and his associates. So, if you want to be someone’s ‘Valentine’, to be true to the original meaning and significance of the day and Valentine himself, you could —
- Pray for Christians in prison e.g. by using the Barnabas Aid Prayer Notes (like on Wednesday you would pray for imprisoned Christians in Eritrea) –
- Give financially to organisations which help our beleaguered brothers and sisters e.g. Barnabas Aid (& there are numerous others, too).
- If a fellow Christian is experiencing some opposition for/to the faith (no matter how slight, because we are very unlikely to be ‘persecuted’ here), be there for them: to listen, to pray, to read the Bible to them etc.
Of course, if you are blessed to be able to experience romantic love then you can go for the flowers, chocolates, dinner etc. (husbands: don’t forget!).
Many TGS people don’t experience romantic love, though. Don’t forget them. Some single people are lonely or even depressed on Valentine’s Day (which I’m sure Valentine would be unhappy about!). Groups of people could go out for a meal together. Couples could include singles in the meal (but without attempting to ‘match-make’ them!). Have people over; have (platonic) fun.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16