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Valentine’s – What’s Love Got to do with It?

We just celebrated Valentine’s Day in the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, and many other countries. Pretty popular, I’d say—but what’s love got to do with it? A variety of theories exist about the origin of the holiday.

It may have originated as a Christian feast day honoring one or more early saints named Valentinus. The Roman Catholic Church mentions three different martyred Saint Valentines.

Or it may have begun in ancient Rome as a pagan fertility festival, celebrated on February 15. Men and women drew names from a box and paired off for the rest of the festival, sometimes leading to marriages.

Another theory is that it was first celebrated as a romantic holiday In the 14th and 15th centuries in Europe, with the then-popular concept of courtly love. Some say Henry VIII, known for disposing of his wives, declared by Royal Charter in 1537 that Valentine’s Day would be a public holiday, and chose February 14th as its celebration day.

How is love expressed on Valentine’s Day?

Evidence suggests that exchanging love notes and gifts has been part of our human culture for centuries.

For example, in ancient Rome, men gave women flowers and tokens of affection at their festival. In the Middle Ages, lovers exchanged love knots, made by tying ribbons into intricate knots. So, while the modern Valentine’s Day celebration has evolved over time, the idea of expressing love and affection to one’s romantic partner is a timeless tradition.

Flowers, cards, candy are often given as tokens of love in our culture. But must these be limited to romantic love?

Different kinds of love

Valentine’s Day is not only for romantic partners.

Love recognizes no barriers. —Maya Angelou

Our Saturday a week ago included varying kinds of love, from friendship to fun to romance.

Friendship Love

We started the day with a Lunar New Year’s celebration at our Vietnamese Manicure Shop. The girls were dressed in beautiful Ao Dai costumes in vibrant colors. The husband of the owner wore a stunning royal blue silk tunic over slacks.

Firecrackers were on the menu and Don and I were amazed at how fast the long string of firecrackers burned out in a loud series of pops. We were each given a red envelope with a lottery ticket. Since we won nothing, we’ll happily share our winnings with them!

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.— Mother Teresa

Fellowship Love

In the afternoon, my friend Karen and I joined a “Galentine’s Day” party at our church. I’d never heard of “Galentine’s Day,” but evidently it’s become a thing! Our fun included playing games and meeting new friends, with beautiful decorations and lots of laughter.

We left the party to attend a memorial service for a wonderful, mutual housekeeper. Patricia’s service led with the precious promise from II Timothy 4:7-8:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge,

Will award to me on that day and not only to me,

But also to all who have longed for his appearing. (NIV)

Although much of the service was in Spanish (the planned parts translated into English), Karen and I felt blessed to know of Patricia’s faith in Jesus Christ, in his unconditional love, forgiveness and salvation. His believers truly transcend national, ethnic, and physical boundaries. Jesus said

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:9-13 NIV

And Patricia was dearly loved, by us and by her many family members and friends.

Romantic Love

Don and I had a perfect, but somewhat unconventional, Valentine’s Day with each other.

We met a liquidator at the estate we’re clearing and arranged for her team to clear the house next week. En route home we stopped at the Cheesecake Factory and enjoyed being together, sharing their awesome Tropical Smoothie, lunch, and a slice of Red Velvet cheesecake!

Arriving home, we took care of our Paigey, took a 2.5-hour, much-needed nap together, then enjoyed our small group fellowship that evening. It may not sound like the most romantic day, but given what we’re in the midst of, it was a perfect day for us.

So What’s Love Got to do With it?

Just everything. Whether we are married, in a relationship, newly widowed, or single, we all need to give and receive love. I’m so grateful love has more than one form and is expressed in different ways: sometimes romantic, sometimes through service, sometimes through friendship, fun, or sharing what God is doing in our lives. Sometimes it’s reaching out to someone who has just lost a loved one, or to a person we know is lonely and feels left out, especially on this day, to express how important that friend is to us.

Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35”

What was the best part of your Valentine’s Day?



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