Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy St. Valentine's Day to My Readers

Yesterday I went shopping at a local grocery store. I was startled when I entered the store and a very handsome young man dressed in a tuxedo with a red bow tie greeted me. The entire entrance way was filled with hundreds of red roses, bouquets and heart shaped balloons. There were racks of Valentine’s Day greeting cards and a jazz musician (also dressed in a tux) was playing sweet sentimental love songs on his clarinet.

A long line of men, with sheepish grins on their faces, were holding flowers waiting to have them wrapped with red ribbons and bows. It did not stop at the entrance way. This store had become so creative I had to chuckle. There were rib steaks and trays of shrimp shaped in perfect heart forms. Fruits were carefully carved into the shape of hearts. Any kind of cake and tart that you could conceive were heart shaped and let’s not talk about the shelves of chocolates, soft fluffy toys, etc, etc.

Today across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday?

The history of Valentine's Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery, but we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? One legend contends that 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 single men, who then became his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine became friends with a young woman — who may have been his jailer's daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France. He also gained the reputation of ministering to those who were in prison with him,

That note started the custom of exchanging love notes on Valentine's Day. It was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember. But most importantly, they think about love and friendship.

When I was walking around the grocery store I found myself feeling a little sad that this day that was set aside to express love to others seemed to be lost in advertising and an attempt to get the customers to spend their money (lot’s of money).


1 John 3:11 ‘The message you heard from the very beginning is this: we must love one another.’ And verse 18 ‘My children, our love should not be just words and talk; our love must be true love, which shows itself in action.’


We need to treat others with kindness. It means to go out in our daily lives and treat people the way we want to be treated. Actions do not have to cost a single penny – kindness is meaningful if it is done with love.

Wishing all of my readers a Happy Valentine’s Day


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