Happy Valentines Day! Yes today is the day that we celebrate love, all in the name of Saint Valentine, so if you haven’t gotten that someone special in your life some flowers, candy, or at least a card, you can always go to Walgreen’s. That’s right, the drug store famous for medicine and other health and personal hygiene products is now the store for love, at least that is what their commercials claim. And since many of them are open 24 hours, there is no need to rush, you have plenty of time. Just take it from me and remove the candy and flowers from that white plastic drug store bag before presenting them to your Valentine.
I can still remember the Valentine’s Days of my youth. The red construction paper that was stapled into a pouch just waiting to be filled with the Valentine’s cards of my classmates. The pouches tacked to the bulletin board with everyone’s name written on them in bold black marker. We were even given mimeographed lists with everyone’s name in the class so you would be sure not to forget anyone. Then there was always the one kid who always forgot and brought his in a day late. I remember bringing the big red pouch home and sitting in the floor and reading all of the cards; waiting to see if I had gotten the one special card in the box. Because the box always contained one special card that was a little bit more romantic than all the rest. Of course when you are giving out the cards, you always made sure that the special card went to a special person, while the rest got divided up among the rest of your class.
But with all of the thoughts of youthful love, the one thing I remember about Valentine’s Day growing up, is that it was right before President’s Day. And President’s Day meant that it was time for the herring to start running in the river to spawn. This meant great fish fries for the next couple of months. But this post is about Valentine’s Day so I will wipe the drool off of my chin, forget about the fried fish and continue.
So how did this, one of our most commercialized holidays, get started? It had nothing to do with the herring running, but it did have to do with youthful love. The history of St. Valentine’s Day is hard to pin down since the Catholic church recognizes three different saints that share the Valentine name. But most theory’s point to a priest that served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that unmarried men made the best soldiers he passed a decree prohibiting young men from marrying. Valentine ever the romantic, refused to follow the order and continued to unite young men and women in marriage. Upon Claudius discovering the priests secret wedding ceremonies he had Valentine put to death. After his canonization, the Catholic Church decided to hold the Feast of St. Valentine in the middle of February, either to remember his death and burial, or to minimize the impact of the pagan festival of Lupercalia held on the 15th of February each year.
Today we continue to celebrate our love of each other without even the faintest hint of religious overtones. Valentine’s Day has become big business for the flower, candy, and greeting card industries. In fact, Valentine’s Day ranks second, only to Christmas, as the holiday in which we send out the most greeting cards. And I believe that Valentine’s Day is one of the great success stories of advertising and public relations work in history. After all, we are still buying stuff that we really don’t need, but we must buy to show our love to others almost 2000 years later. I consider that an advertising success.
As this St. Valentine’s Day approached I have been pondering the question of love. Who do you love? Jesus answered this question for us even before Priest Valentine was marrying young couples.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matt 22:37
“With all your heart, soul, and mind.” What a powerful statement. With every fiber of your being. If you don’t love the Lord your God like this, you need to take some time to figure out why. You really are missing the boat. And if you do, take some time out this Valentine’s Day to let Him know. Of course, our God is all-knowing, but I’m sure He still likes to hear us say it sometime.
We are all guilty at times of taking the ones closest to us for granted. But do you take God for granted sometimes? If we are not telling Him each and every day that we love Him and telling Him how much He means to us, then we might just be taking Him for granted. On this Valentine’s Day, don’t let the day pass without telling those closest to you how much they mean to you, especially God.
Have you told God how much you love Him lately?
And since this is Valentine’s Day, and this is my place so I can do what I want, I would like to take a moment to say to my wife, Jeanean:
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
I LOVE YOU SWEETHEART.
THANK YOU FOR BEING MY VALENTINE FOR THE PAST 32 YEARS.
THAT SPECIAL CARD THAT IS IN THE BOX IS RESERVED FOR YOU!