Valentine’s Day was most important to me when I was in high school. Somehow I measured my value with how much attention I received on Valentine’s Day. Aside from a few faithful friends…and my mom, it was a rather drab day for me. I’ve given very little thought to Valentines Day over the last few years and have contemplated throwing it out altogether. It is another commercialized holiday where you are expected to buy things to prove how much you value someone. Ugh.
Although my husband and I have agreed to avoid the day as much as possible, I have also promised myself to not overlook any opportunity to use our calendar to make Christ beautiful. So as I have looked into the background of Valentine’s Day, I found a man named Valentine who was killed because of his love for God – A MARTYR – killed by a Roman Emperor who hated God. So the message to tell our kids on Valentine’s Day should be that they may die if they love Jesus? Well, it’s the truth! Maybe that’s not the warmest way to communicate the answer. The simple answer may be “LOVE” but that is really too broad. Love has many definitions even in the Bible – Family Love, Neighborly Love, Romantic Love. What love makes you willing to die for one you love? Valentine may have been given a chance to renounce God and cease all talk of God, but he didn’t obviously. If he had any doubt about God, the test of death would have revealed it right there. When you know God so well and are so sure of your love for him, you are willing to even die before denying him. This story of Valentine has lots of tales and rituals connected to it, but at it’s most basic form it points, not to a man, but to a kind of love that was willing to die for the one loved. This is a love like Christ had. We can’t point at Valentine as having this love first, but Valentine can point to Christ who first loved us and laid down his life for us.
So what is our family going to do for Valentine’s Day? Eat some chocolate maybe, but for sure I will find ways to tell my kids about the kind of love that is worth dying for. I’ll pick a martyr to read about each year. These verses keep coming to mind.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” – John 15:13. “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die, but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:7, 8.
I have long spools of paper that will make a nice fill in the blank on the wall for those verses. The blanks will be hearts hidden all over the room.
Some other resources I will use today.
Vision Video has a great series of Heroes of the Faith. I know the one called Perpetua and another called The Jim Elliot Story are both about a group of martyrs, and I’m sure there are others.
I bought a book this year that talks about Valentine but the story is mostly about Martin Luther King’s era and fighting hate with love. It’s called The Legend of Valentine: An Inspirational Story of Love and Reconciliation. This book does not describe Christ’s love and willingness to die, but I think it is still a valuable resource for young children on Valentine’s Day. I hope to find a better account of Valentine and will journal about it if I fine one.
The visual of hearts and crosses seems to fit with deadly love and I plan to use these in any decor and crafts. I found several ideas on Pinterest for this.
The Jelly Telly blog always has some articles or crafts on different holidays that I’ve appreciated.
Yes, I will still give my kids a valentine too, but taking this cultural norm and using it to point to Jesus is so much more fun! So I’ve decided not to throw out the day entirely! The romance part of it is another subject entirely, maybe next year.