The stores are filled with hearts, chocolate, and roses in every shade of pink and red imaginable. As a lover of pink, chocolate and roses, this just may be my favorite time of year to shop! It's St. Valentine’s Day! Yes, St. Valentine's Day--I know that sounds a little odd to your ears. When I was a little girl, that's what we called it. But in recent years, as all holidays are secularized and materialized more and more, St. Valentine's Day became Valentine's Day.
Why Do We Celebrate?
Who was St. Valentine and why do we celebrate love on the day we've set aside to remember him? Valentine was a priest who lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius. He was known for his kindness and selfless love. He was arrested for his faith and imprisoned, but managed to send and receive letters from his friends and fellow Christian Emperor Claudius tried to convert him to Roman paganism to spare his life, but Valentine shared the Gospel with the emperor instead. Before he was martyred for his faith in Jesus, he healed the eyes of his jailor's blind daughter.
Love is In the Air
If we are celebrating St. Valentine's Day with our sweetie, there are many options. Men, you, of course, can buy your special lady a dozen long-stemmed roses and a big box of Godiva chocolate. We can go out to a lovely dinner and gaze into each other's eyes. But, of course, those things cost money. So, what are some inexpensive ways to celebrate the romance you share with your husband? Here are some things Mike and I have done:
- Buy a package of Valentines for children. Write little notes to your husband or wife on each one and hide them throughout the house. Make most easy to find, but hide some so that they won't be found until later!
- Make a CD of romantic songs and dance outside on the patio in the moonlight.
- Make a scrapbook of your relationship from its conception until now. Look at it together.
- Tell your children how you met, how your husband proposed, and other fun stories. Your children will love this!
- Wait until the children are in bed and have a romantic dinner by candlelight ALONE!
- Read old love letters out loud to each other
- Pack china, crystal goblets, a tasty lunch, and sparkling grape juice. Go on a picnic in a pretty spot. Bring a beautiful comforter to sit on and be careful with the china and crystal!
So, it's St. Valentine's Day and love is in the air! Or is it? For many Christians, St. Valentine's Day is a dark, gloomy reminder that they are alone or that the man they are "stuck with" is not such a great catch. Now, I realize that many of you are looking forward to St. Valentines' Day with anticipation. I don't want to put a damper on your enthusiasm! But, let's imitate St. Valentine and share some kindness and selfless love with our dear sisters in Christ that find this holiday difficult. I find that women have a harder time with this holiday than men, but you may know some brothers in the Lord that are hurting too.
My husband, Mike and I go out to celebrate St. Valentine's Day on a different night and celebrate the actual holiday as a family. I set the table with china, lace, candlelight, our best silver, and flowers. We always include some singles that are unattached in our celebration. At each place, I put a card from me and a tiny heart shaped box of candy. When a sister in the Lord is really going through a hard time, I may visit her at work and bring flowers too! My children have made many Valentine's Day cards for single sisters who were hurting on this day.
Celebrating St. Valentine's Day as a Family
Celebrating St. Valentine's Day with my children has always involved baking heart-shaped desserts and making handmade cards. It's the one time a year we get out the rubber stamps, embossing powder, and calligraphy pens. What delight we take in making something special to communicate our love!
As with all holidays, this is a time to focus on others with love and compassion. After all, we are celebrating the day in memory of someone who risked his life to communicate the love and freedom found in Christ.
Happy Valentine’s Day to each of you! With love!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)