A Real Valentine

Written by RuthAnn Raycroft

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I find myself thinking about all of the things I dislike about the “love” holiday.

Before I am labelled a cynic or accused of sour grapes, let me be clear: I believe in love. Sincerely. And romance is lovely. It’s the “once a year” part I have trouble with.

“I’m going to ask her on Valentine’s Day,” I overheard one young man saying to a friend. “She’ll never forget it!”

“He didn’t buy me ANYTHING last year,” another young woman lamented.

In a flurry of activity, we try to cram a year’s worth of tender sentiments into 24 hours–love is not love but for Valentine’s Day! But what are we really celebrating?

The holiday may have roots in an ancient Roman festival to honour Lupercus, the god who kept wolves at bay. The festival took place in the spring and included some “sweetheart” games for the young men and women. Lupercalia was celebrated on the 15th of February.

Some centuries later, as legend has it, a priest in the new Christian religion was executed for marrying Roman soldiers to their girlfriends. The young priest-Valentine-married the young couples in spite of the dictates of Emperor Claudius II, who believed that single men made better soldiers. Valentine was put to death on February 14th, the eve of Lupercalia, and was later named a saint. And we have had Valentine’s day ever since.

It’s interesting that a man’s sacrifice for his beliefs has become such a commercial enterprise. It would be difficult to imagine a pop culture holiday based, for instance, on the exploits of Joan of Arc. But it’s a love thing.

She gets giddy when she talks about romantic Valentine’s surprises. He struggles to find exactly the right gift or card that will make her his forever. We need Valentine’s Day because it makes us feel good. Valentine’s Day has become a pink and red, doily-covered spectacle of proving to each other, and to ourselves, that someone really loves us.

It’s just too bad that we limit love to what we can do one day a year. Love isn’t seasonal and it has nothing to do with heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. True love is more than a stamp on a greeting card, and it certainly isn’t proven by the number of valentines you got this year.

Valentine himself knew that. He sacrificed his safety every day so that those young Roman couples could experience the happiness of marriage. It cost him his life.

God loves us so much that He sacrificed Himself so that we could experience eternity. He gave His life for us.

Now that’s love worth celebrating. A real valentine.

Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times.

There are things we dream of doing one day, there are things we wish we could forget.  You are embarking on a whole new life, maybe this is the time to invite God to be a part of it.  In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new.  What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?

Living with hope

If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.

Is this the life for you?

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

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