Updated: Feb 1
As Christians, we are called to live distinctive, set-apart lives. Does this mean we have to avoid secular holidays? Or, can we embrace these holidays as an opportunity to celebrate the love of Christ and glorify God? Romans 12:2 instructs believers to not be conformed to the patterns of this world. I believe we can live in accordance with this Scripture by taking holidays, including Valentine’s Day, and focusing them on God, His character, and the reliability of His Word.
What are the origins of Valentine's Day?
I’ll explain in a moment how we can use Valentine’s Day to celebrate the love of God expressed to us through Jesus, but let’s first explore the origins of this holiday. Valentine’s Day was named after Saint Valentine in the 5th Century A.D. Saint Valentine’s history is not well-documented, but numerous legends indicate the Saint was a man who lived during the 3rd century A.D. and was martyred because he defied Emperor Claudis II. Rome was a center of sexual immorality and regular warfare at this time in history. Claudis believed that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed all new marriage. Valentine secretly married young couples because Scripture affirmed the practice of marriage between one man and woman and discouraged sexual immorality. Performing marriage ceremonies resulted in his receiving beatings and eventual decapitation. February 14 is the customary date of his beheading. Some evidence indicates that the custom of exchanging love notes came from a parting word of encouragement that Valentine sent to a woman who had converted to Christianity and was not a romantic expression.
Although Valentine’s Day replaced a secular Roman festival, we can still use this celebration to honor the memory of a man who loved Christ so much that he died for Him. By celebrating with a Christ-centered mindset, we can take advantage of a key opportunity to point others to God’s love for us. I first felt compelled to celebrate holidays intentionally with a bigger focus on Christ soon after God blessed me with children. As a way of using Valentine’s Day to point your family and others to Christ, consider two new traditions or ideas (more ideas coming next week):
Throughout the month of February, surprise your kids with words of affirmation of who your kids are in Christ and what God says about them. See the instructions here:
Beginning February 1, each evening, post a specific word of encouragement - see the instructions and suggested affirmations here -https://bethrunkle.com/february-words-of-affirmation/
Decorate in such a way to point visitors to your home to the love of Jesus. See the instruction here - https://bethrunkle.com/decorations-to-focus-on-the-love-of-christ/
Come back next week for a few more ideas. What ideas do you have to point your family to the unconditional love of the Lord?