Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
Today, February 14th, is Valentine’s Day. It’s a day that many flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards are given. It’s a day in which millions of men, like myself, feel tremendous pressure to “do something awesome” for our spouses and significant others.
Over 20 years ago, I proposed marriage to Denise on February 13. Yes, you read that right. The day BEFORE Valentine’s Day. I’m a non-conformist. I like to keep her guessing. Twenty years later, and I still do.
Most people don’t realize that Valentine’s Day has it’s origins in the Christian faith. That may be a shocker for some of you, because you thought Hallmark made it famous in order to sell billions of mass-produced greeting cards!
In actuality, February 14th is a celebration or feast of Saint Valentinus, a priest that was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians that were persecuted under the Roman Empire around the year 270 AD. An interesting twist to the story was that during Valentinus’ imprisonment, he prayed for and saw the healing of his jailer’s daughter named Julia. Reportedly, the daughter, along with her parents and forty-four members of their household all came to the saving knowledge of Jesus and were baptized.
Before Valentinus’ execution he wrote a farewell to Julia, who was no longer blind, signing it “from your Valentine.”
And the rest is history…and an opportunity to sell lots of stuff to frantic love-birds…
During the High Middle Ages, in the days of Geoffrey Chaucer, it first became associated with romantic love. It became an occasion for lovers to present flowers, chocolate and greeting cards (known as ‘valentines’) to each other. But let’s not forget its humble and heart-felt beginnings.
Valentinus was a person like any one of us, even though most of us won’t have a day on the calendar with our name on it!