Sunday, February 14, 2016

"From Your Valentine"

When you hear Valentine's Day, what do you think of?  Love, romance, the perfect date?  Or maybe even heartbreak or loneliness?  Anymore, Valentine's Day is a day of controversy because not everyone has a significant other.

But did you ever stop to wonder where Valentine's Day originated?

Perhaps you already know the story, and perhaps you don't.  Either way, let me give you a refresher.

Back in the Roman empire, in the early A.D's, the Roman Emperor Claudius somehow got it into his head that his soldiers would fight better if they had no family to go home to.  They were always complaining about not seeing their family, which Claudius saw as a distraction from their duties.  He did not realize that their families were what the men usually fought to protect, their motivation, in other words.

To solve the problem, Claudius outlawed marriage.

Not everyone agreed with the emperor's laws, however.  The Christians believed marriage was sacred and ordained by God.  Among them was a Christian priest named Valentine.  This man chose to continue performing marriage ceremonies regardless of the law and the deadly consequences.  It is not known exactly how long he evaded the law, but Valentine was eventually caught and sentenced to execution.

While he was in prison, as the story is generally told, Valentine met the blind daughter of a Roman official.  He befriended the girl and gave her the gospel.  At one point, Valentine prayed with her and God healed her eyes.  As a result, both the young lady and her father became Christians.  Unfortunately, however, there was no way to save Valentine's from execution.

The last words Valentine wrote were on a slip of paper he gave to his young friend, ending with, "From your Valentine."  

Valentine was given a Sainthood because of his stand and martyrdom for his faith, and we celebrate Valentine's Day on the day of his death in 269 A.D.  Over the years, the meaning of the day has changed, but we can still look back and be inspired by the man who stood for his faith in God's ordination of marriage, even unto his death.

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?  What do you think of this story?  Have you ever heard it before?

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