Every February 14 people throughout the world, pause to exchange gifts, chocolates and romantic greetings for a day set aside for lovers.
Yes, while many of us never know why such customs are upheld, much of the history of Valentine's Day, and even St. Valentine himself, remains shrouded in mystery. And some historians tell what is widely accepted, is inaccurate.
Rome during the 5th century. But whatever the truth of stories about St. Valentine, though disputed, all paint him as a sympathetic and heroic individual. Thus, its celebration grew, and was popular though the Middle Ages, until the present time.
I understand the oldest written valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans. And some other interesting facts: Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are the most popular holidays to give flowers.
But gifts to express one's love to one's mate, was also a very important part of any Valentine's Day. Maybe a special trip to New York, Paris, or Rome or some other romantic place.
But for those of us not wealthy, feel we still want to give something special. I don't know about you, but I always bought a dozen red roses for my wife on that day! Yes, and a box of those chocolates in a heart formed box. Yeah, my wife I'd have to admit was a chocoholic. She loved her chocolates -- maybe like some of you!
While Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful to God for our blessings, Christmas a time to celebrate the birth of our Lord, Valentine's Day is a time to give a special gift to those we truly and deeply love.
During the Valentine Day's celebrations, I want us to think of the greatest gift of all, God's valentine gift of love by the giving of his son for our redemption.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not parish but have everlasting life."
I know that even as we recite John 3:16, which is so common to us all, we need to hear again how deeply God loves us, seeks the best for us, wants to give us a life that's "more abundant," we tend to forget how truly God loves us.
God sent his son to teach us what life is to be. Jesus said, it's all about love. The great commandments are to love God with all your heart, and the second, "love you neighbor as yourself," "Love your enemies," "Do good to those that hate you," "If they compel you to go a mile, go two!" "If they smite you on the cheek, turn the other," "Pray for those that despitefully use you and persecute you."
Jesus made Love the badge of discipleship: "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, because you love one another." St. John said, "He that loves not, knows not God, for God is love."
Remembering St. Valentine's Day, wouldn't it be wonderful if our homes and relationships could celebrate again that love once there, when we pledged ourselves to each other?
If you're living in a home without that love, tenderness and affection that once was yours, accept the priceless gift of God's Valentine of Love, and let Christ come into your hearts and home.
When your next Valentine's Day comes, I assure you, it will "not be just for a day," but a life filled with love and happiness!