GOD AND VALENTINE’S DAY

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Here are a few things I discovered about Valentine’s Day from my internet search. Historians say that February 14 was an ancient Roman day, celebrating Juno, the Roman goddess of women and marriage. One story I read said that on the eve of February 14th, names of young Roman girls were written on a slip of paper and placed into jars. Each young man drew out a girl’s name from the jar and was paired with the girl for the duration of a festival which was held the next day, on the 15th. Sometimes, pairing lasted for a year until next year’s celebration. Quite often, the couple would fall in love with each other and later marry. The custom lasted for a long time until people felt that the custom was un-Christian and that mates should be chosen by sight, not luck.

Later on, a Christian named Valentinus came to be associated with February 14 and the subject of love.

Later on, a Christian named Valentinus came to be associated with February 14 and the subject of love. One story says that a Roman emperor banned marriage in Rome because the love for wives and families kept men from entering his army. Valentinus opposed the emperor by marrying couples in secret, and around AD 270, he was killed for taking a stand in favor of love and marriage. For his stand, Valentinus was later pronounced a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Around A.D. 498, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day to honor the martyr Valentinus and to end the pagan celebration.

Before his death he wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart from the jail and signed ‘From your Valentine’.

Many stories are associated with Saint Valentine that demonstrates his association with the highly regarded virtue of love and marriage. Another story states that while in prison Valentinus fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who visited him during confinement. Before his death he wrote a farewell letter to his sweetheart from the jail and signed ‘From your Valentine’. No matter how this tradition came about, it is here, and today we, along with the peoples in many other countries, celebrate love by sending cards, writing notes, and giving gifts in honor of love and loving relationships.

Where does God come in? Actually, God has always been in. He is eternal love and his valentine to us is the Bible. In that love letter, he tells us how he loves us and that he wants us to love him in return. The acts of the Christian Valentinus were motivated by God’s love for him and his love for God. He knew God’s will was for love to be honored and practiced. He gave up his life to practice living and upholding God’s truth, for that is what love does. It was Jesus who said, “There is no greater love than this, that one gives up his life for those who are friends” (John 15:13). The Apostle Paul said that the husbands role in marriage is to “love his wife, just as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). God celebrates love above all other things we take as important in life. There is “faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Where does God come in? He is our supreme example of love. We read in his word to us, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for a good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8). Love gives to meet the needs of others. God met our need for love so that we can learn to love like he loves us.

“Who are you going to give your heart to this Valentine’s Day? JESUS is waiting for each and every heart!! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!.”

My wife helps work with junior high girls in the local church we attend. She has nineteen girls is her group. She sent off her valentines, not on social media, but by mailing personal notes. An important message she conveyed in the note was this: “Who are you going to give your heart to this Valentine’s Day? JESUS is waiting for each and every heart!! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!.”

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Jay Ashbaucher
Jay Ashbaucher is a native of Northwest Ohio and is currently a retired pastor and published author. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and has been a pastor and teacher in Montana for over 44 years. Jay taught grief classes in a hospital setting, and worked for twenty years as a fifth-step counselor and lecturer in an alcoholic-drug treatment center getting to know the hearts of people struggling to get well. While pastoring in Montana, he had enjoyed racquetball, hunting, fishing, and traveling the Big Sky State. Now living in Southeast Michigan, Jay enjoys his family, reading, hiking, golf, time with friends, and time with his fun-to-be-with wife. They have two happily married children and seven grandchildren.