So if I’m honest, I’m not the most romantic bloke in the world. It’s not outside of my skillset but it just doesn’t happen naturally at times, so Valentines’ day can be a bit stressful.
I had a look at the history of Valentines’ day, and was surprised to see that Valentine was a Christian martyr paying the ultimate price for love. It is suggested that Bishop Valentine in around 250 AD was secretly conducting marriages even though Emperor Claudius II had told the Bishops not to during wartime. For obvious reasons Claudius was unhappy and had Valentine imprisoned and executed. Even though Valentines name is still remembered his act of self-sacrifice has been long forgotten.
Why am I writing this short and concise history lesson? Well I think that celebrating love is so important and whilst we can lose ourselves trying to pick a card for Valentines’ day, what we are trying to do is celebrate love.
The bible has an incredible section in it where Jesus is talking to his mates about love and he says this: ‘Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down ones life for his friends.’ John 15:12-13
Now, by including this sort of verse here we have basically removed all the romanticised, chocolate bunnies and heart shaped cards – sorry about that. But this is important because Bishop Valentines’ love wasn’t about chocolate bunnies and cards it was about loving, serving and caring for people. This love cost him his life.
What I want to suggest is that if you have a ‘valentine’ and share your heart shaped card with them, also consider the day and the history behind it and the on-going way you want to share your love. You might think I’ve taken this too far, but let me ask you a question: is it OK to say we love one person but hate another? Is it OK to show love in our actions to one person but actively destroy and criticise someone else? Is it OK to send chocolates and heart shaped cards to the one we love but join the ridicule and cutting banter of someone in the work place?
Valentines’ day is a day to show love, but it is just a day, one day. I believe the love Jesus calls us to show is a lifestyle, a rhythm of love that influences your actions and reactions everyday. As men who love profoundly, we are called to let that love impact the core of who we are as followers of Jesus.
So as you celebrate love, yeah, eat the chocolates like no ones watching – go for it, but also remember Bishop Valentine and his act of love. Then top that by considering the act of love shown to us by Jesus, you are no longer called servants but friends says Jesus, love has changed everything!
Image Credit: Mayur Gala