by Lorelei Nettles
Does God care what we celebrate? He does!
In many countries around the world, on February 14th, there will be a celebration. This day is known as Valentine’s Day, Saint Valentine’s Day, Feast of Saint Valentine, and kept loosely as “Alla hjärtans dag” in Sweden. It is often boosted by advertising, which encourages the purchase of flowers, candy, cards, outings and jewelry. All to prove ones love for their sweetheart. The day is supposedly all about showing love, but its origins are anything but. It started with the Roman festival Lupercalia. This ritual time period was kept for three days (the 13th–15th of February) in order to ward off evil spirits and increase fertility and was really not loving at all. In fact it was rather bloody. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupercalia)
Later, this festival was incorporated into the Catholic church as St. Valentine’s Day because Valentine, a Roman priest, was beheaded on February 14th in 278 AD for performing marriages. (History.com) The thought being they could turn the nasty festival into an honored event having to do with marriage and romance. Unfortunately, it then morphed again with the adding of the pagan god of love named Cupid. People exchanged cards and over time started adding gifts.
Valentine’s has become so incorporated into society that it can bring on negative emotions in some people. They become so sad or angry over not feeling loved, or being lavished with gifts, that it affects their relationships and life overall. According to ListVerse.com, research suggests that 75% of suicide attempts are attributed to relationship problems and 1 in 10 teens feels lonely or unwanted on Valentine’s day.
A 2013 article states that the St. Louis, Missouri suicide hot line received 200 more calls than usual. The article also states: In California, the Suicide Prevention Service of the Central Coast (SPSCC) experiences the same phenomenon. Diane Brice, director of SPSCC, reports that Valentine’s Day marks the beginning of a period with the highest rate of suicide. Brice has been seeing this pattern play out over 23 years.
From City on a Hill Press: “February comes and you’re supposed to be in love and you’re supposed to be feeling better because it’s springtime, but some people don’t.” Brice said. “That’s when it gets really difficult for people, because of the expectation to feel better.”
(Suicide Hotline Calls Soar On Valentine’s Day, Care2.com)
Not a godly love?
A forced expression of love is not sincere. I remember being a girl who once mourned on Valentine’s day because I was without a boyfriend. I also felt sorry for myself in the years when I did have a boyfriend, but didn’t think I was lavished with enough attention. It was all very self absorbed and I wasn’t doing the boy, myself, or the relationship justice. It is a very self-centered day, one where you either feel wonderful because of what you received, or wonderful because you gave so much. It is also self-centered to feel betrayed or neglected because you aren’t on the giving or receiving end.
As Christians we should shun Valentine’s day not only because it is from Pagan beliefs, but also because it is a sad expression of love. True love is expressed daily and not in a showy way. We were created with a great ability to love. It started when God said man should not be alone. (Genesis 2:18) God knew that Adam needed someone to spend time with; that he could love. In verse 2:24 it says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (KJV throughout) One flesh! That has a deep meaning. It means you become like one person. What happens to one is felt by the other, caring for the other as if it were yourself. Now that’s love!
The only greater love than between a husband and wife is God’s love. Think about the love God has for us. We are His creation and He has loved us from the beginning. How do I know that? Because God even knows how many hairs are on our head. (Luke 12:7) You don’t waste time knowing that if you don’t care. God’s love is awesome and His love is a love that none of us could even imagine. A love that is forgiving, merciful. One that is so strong that He was willing to give His son. John 3:16 says,“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (See also 1 John 4:9, Romans 5:8) That’s true love!
God offers us love, the highest form of love. He is love. (1 John 4:8) God’s love is patient and merciful. There are many examples of that when you read about those who dealt closely with God. Moses, Abraham and others pleaded with God and their requests were answered. (Numbers 12:12-15; Genesis 18:23-32)
We are to emulate that love the best we can. “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:15-16) and “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)
There is nothing that compares with God’s true love. If we even try to share a fraction of the love God offers us with others, we will never feel alone. Why would we even want to be involved with the shallowness of Valentine’s Day?