Why Valentine’s Day?
“…it has been suggested that the holiday has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica
“Lupercalia originated as a ritual in a rural masculine cult involving the sacrifice of goats and dogs and evolved later into an urban carnival. During the festivities half-naked young men ran through the streets of Rome, streaking people with thongs cut from the skins of newly killed goats.” – Smithstonian magazine
“…Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. …others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome…. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons…” – History.com
Clearly there are some uncertainties as to the origin of this day. Perhaps the best answer of all to the question, “Why Valentine’s Day?” is this: “Why not?” Do we really need a reason to set aside one day a year expressly to express expressions of love? Why not every day?… every hour? Why not just be at all times persons who love?
This is the example seen in our heavenly Father. Love is not a thing God does; it is a thing God is. John sets forth this case expertly,
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8).
Early in His ministry Christ taught,
“…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:44-45).
God is Love just as a flower is fragrant. God is love and His love is not selective. God is Love, and so ought we to be. “By this,” said Jesus, “everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35).
Now, I’m not a cupid crusher. Be sure to bring your sweetie some flowers today! But tomorrow… and the next… and the next… let us keep that agapé fragrance flowing.*
- (See also 2 Cor, 2:14-16).