God's Valentine to You
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Excuse the pun, but I LOVE VALENTINE'S DAY! It is one of my favorite holidays, and not for the reason most people enjoy this time-honored holiday. Sure, buying roses and candy for the love(s) of your life as a gifted expression of how much you cherish and adore them is always a good thing. And it shouldn't be limited to once a year!
I want to share with you a little perspective on why Valentine's Day means so much to me, and what it has come to mean throughout my years of living. It all started back when I was a child. My mother made very major holiday special. She baked cookies in the forms of hearts and often made hamburgers with heart-shaped patties. She decorated the house is red, white, and pink crepe papers with foil hearts hanging from the chandelier or light fixtures, and helped us create the most amazing Valentine card boxes for school - back when we used to exchange Valentines at school. I'm unsure if they even do that any more, but they should. It teaches a valuable lesson in early childhood development about sharing and giving. But, I digress...
Some may know the story of the Three Roses, my mother used to tell. Every Valentine's Day, when I was a child, she would buy three red roses and put them in a vase. Each rose represented a member of the Holy Trinity - God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. They also represented God, herself, and me (and my sister, once she came along). She began by describing that the rose was God's favorite flower because He designed it after himself.
The red, velvet petals were soft like the robe of His majestic garment. The fragrance was sweet and blessed like the prayers of His children. The long, evergreen stem represented the gift of eternity given to us on the cross. She pointed out that the stem of a rose was woody and unlike other flowers because the cross was made of wood. And roses have thorns to represent the crown of thorns Jesus wore to die for our sins and give us eternal life.
"In a few days, these blossoms will begin to fade and bow their heads like Jesus did as He died," she would continue. "And the beautiful velvet petals will fall like His droplets of blood to the ground." But the rose is not only a reminder of God's love for us, and the sacrifice of His Son on the cross, it is a reminder that God is always with us!
She continued. "Just like the three roses represent the Trinity, they represent you, me, and God, together. One day, my rose will fade and die, just like Jesus. But because of Him, I will live, again, and so will you, as long as we have God with us!" Valentine's Day may not be considered a "Christian" or "religious" holiday to most, but to me, it is as equally important as Christmas and Easter! Here's why...
Based on the most beautiful story my mother used to share about the Three Roses, a story I am sure she made up on her own, I have never seen a rose the same way. And I see Valentine's Day in a whole new light!
Looking at the origins of the Valentine holiday, there are varied stories and accounts about a young priest, Valentinus, who ministered to persecuted Christians during the third century. After being imprisoned for trying to convert more people to Christianity and showing God's love to those who were persecuted by the Roman empire, he was imprisoned. A guard at the prison had a young daughter who was blind, and after befriending Valentinus, he begged him to heal her. According to several accounts, he placed his hands upon her eyes and she was miraculously healed. He came to adore this young lady, and they exchanged correspondence leading up to his execution in 259 A.D. His final words of love to her were, "From your Valentine," which is where we get the exchange of gifts that express our love and Valentine's Day.
As endearing as that story may be, I came to realize something that I don't think is a coincidence. While there is absolutely no biblical proof, whatsoever, I think we celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14 because it is right in the middle of both Christmas and Easter/Passover. While there is an argument to be made that Jesus' birth didn't actually take place in winter (therefore, Christmas is actually in June/July, not December), and that Passover and Easter take place on different days each year (sometimes in March, sometimes in April), we could split hairs over the technicalities or simply see it in a more liturgical way, like I do.
The birth, death, and resurrection of our Savior is the entire basis for Christianity and our personal relationship with God. Jesus was and is our shining example of God's love - an eternal love - filled with hope, joy, peace, and a reward far beyond anything man or creation can offer! With that said, I believe Valentine's Day is right between Christmas and Easter to remind us that Jesus' entire story is all about LOVE!
When we read the Scriptures, we are constantly reminded of God's love for us - His "Valentine" messages to a world of persecuted Christians and Jews - His children. And here is His first Valentine to you:
For God so loVed the world
that He gAve
believes In Him
should Not perish
but have Everlasting life.
- John 3:16
So, as you think about Valetine's Day, today, and each year hereafter, remember it is more than a holiday for couples, and it's far greater than "single awareness day." It's a reminder of the Greatest Love Story Ever Told! And that love story is YOURS!
Go buy yourself roses and remember they are a reminder of God's Valentine for you - His Son, Jesus Christ!
And here are some more Valentine's from God to you:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
- Psalm 143:8
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
- Proverbs 3:3-4
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
- 1 John 4:16
We love because He first loved us.
- 1 John 4:19