Red hearts, long-stemmed roses, chocolates, greeting cards, and candlelit dinners come to mind when someone mentions Valentine’s Day. However, Valentine’s Day was originally established to honor a Christian martyr, Saint Valentine, who demonstrated Christ’s love in the second century. Knowing the history behind this greeting card holiday helps us better understand the reasons for the day and the importance of demonstrating unconditional love on February 14.
Whether we celebrate February 14 with a romantic gift or meal or not, let’s use some of the traditional tokens as reminders of Christ’s love for us.
The red heart – let the red of Valentine’s Day remind us of the shed blood of Jesus, who gave His life to save ours. First John 1:7b reminds us of why Jesus shed His blood for us, “…and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” As we see the red of Valentine’s Day, say a prayer thanking Jesus for the gift of eternal life He secured for us through the shedding of His blood on the cross.
And let the heart remind us of Christ’s unconditional love for us. I John 4:7-21 beautifully describes perfect love. Verse 4 begins this passage on love, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” I encourage each one of us to read this passage this weekend as a reminder of how much God loves us.
Roses – Let the roses seen at Valentine’s Day remind us of the thorny crown placed on Christ’s brow. The soldiers at His trial made a mockery of Jesus’ kingly position and plaited a crown out of thorns and harshly pushed it down on His skull. What excruciating pain this must have caused. Yet Christ wore it for you and for me. May the roses we see this time of year remind us of the cost Jesus paid to save us.
Chocolates – This delicious treat abounds from Valentine’s Day through Easter. Let this traditional gift remind us of Psalm 119:103, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” As delightful as chocolate is, God’s Word proves so much sweeter. Scripture produces a lasting taste that gives life. Spend time delving into the Bible finding a more lasting gift that is sweeter than honey.
Greeting cards – Cards are often used to bring encouragement. Although the Valentine’s Day cards tend to lean to a more romantic nature, let them be a reminder to encourage others in the faith. In Philippians 4:21, Paul is finishing his letter to the Philippians with this closing, “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.” Let us greet and encourage one another in every way we can.
Candle lit dinners – Let candles be a reminder to be a light for Christ. Matthew 5:14-16 says it best. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Whether we look forward to Valentine’s Day or dread it due to some loss or hurt in our lives, let this February 14 be a beautiful reminder of Christ’s unconditional love for us.