Well here we are in the “Love” week! I’m sure lots of orders for flower and candy bouquets are being placed, Valentine cards are being made or bought galore!
I worked in a high school and will never forget the first Valentine’s Day I spent there. I walked into the office “break room” and was nearly knocked out as I pushed my way through the pink and red balloons, only to find every counter top and several square feet of the floor covered with valentines for students…girls mostly.
Last year the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported U.S. consumers spent $19.7 billion on Valentine’s Day alone. The average consumer spent $146.84. The NFR predicts the spending will be down this year to a mere $18.2 billion!
I’m always intrigued by holiday celebrations. I seek to understand the history behind each one. In fact I teach an entire workshop on how to celebrate Christ-centered holidays, helping discover ways to be intentional in setting traditions.
For Valentine’s Day each year Tom and I host a Grand Valentine Party for our four grandchildren….no parents allowed! They must go on a date!
Here’s a nutshell version of what I learned from an article, St. Valentine Real Story.
St. Valentine was a Roman Priest. The church was being persecuted by an emperor named Claudias . Claudias had issued an order that prohibited marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married because married soldiers would be distracted worrying about what their wives and families would do without them.
Hmmm….Maybe that’s why Tom’s commanding officers in the Army often said; “If the Army wanted you to have a wife they would have issued you one with the rest of your equipment.” I digress….
St. Valentine encouraged marriage within the Christian church and he secretly married them. Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured. In the year 269 AD he was sentenced to a three-part execution of beating, stoning and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage.
Wow, that is not what I knew of Valentine’s Day!
All this talk about love, spending money and now new information about St. Valentine causes me to think: what does love really cost? I mean, can you really buy love? I think all of us know the answer to that question is a resounding “no.”
Many price tags come to mind when I think of what love really costs. Not monetary numbers but heart numbers. You can’t really put a price tag on love after all. St. Valentine was willing to put his life on the line for love and marriage.
I’m reminded today of Scriptures like John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” And the most famous Bible verse of all time, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Today I’ll celebrate those in my life that I love with a new mindset….the cost of love. Today I read these verses above and I remember that I am loved by the Father in Heaven, and today I will love out of the overflow of His love.
Happy Valentine’s day!