The perfect card? Flowers? Chocolate? Jewelry? Expensive dinner? O MY!
I don’t know about you… but I often find myself getting exhausted by holidays which were created as symbols and celebrations of important moments in history that have instead been filled with commercialism, materialism, and expectations. We often forget the deeper meaning behind the holiday and lose sight of its beautiful reminders and significance. And sadly, usually just respond out of expectation.
Well today is one of those days! When did Hallmark turn Valentine’s into yet another materialistic ritual filled with anxiety over expectations, chocolate, and roses? Who is this Saint we attribute to Valentine’s day? What is his story? Will I find a renewed and refreshing perspective for which to celebrate?
Let us start by looking back in time…
The tale of St. Valentine (of Rome) is actually quite interesting. There are many variations of the story but this is the most popular one. As the story goes… Valentine was a Roman priest during emperor Claudius’s (II) reign. An edict was created which prohibited the marriage of young people as they believed that unmarried soldiers fought better, as married soldiers may fear death because of their wives and children. Valentine was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers in secret. According to the legend during his imprisonment Valentine healed the judge’s blind daughter and before his execution, on Feb 14, he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine”.
Yes, to some degree this is a tale of romance as Valentine secretly married Christian couples against the edict, and has come to be known as the patron saint of lovers. However, Valentine’s legacy was more about standing up for what you believe in – what is right – even if it costs you. Human love is beautiful and worthy of a symbol or special day to remind us to appreciate and acknowledge the ones we love. But Valentine’s life and execution also points to a greater symbol of love, the cross and God’s love for His people.
This is great news because it means no matter who you are, where you came from, or what life looks like right now… you can celebrate St. Valentine’s Day.
My renewed perspective on Valentine’s day?
- As I said before, human love is beautiful and worthy of a symbol or special day to remind us to appreciate and acknowledge the ones we love. I don’t know about you but for me life seems to be so busy that I could use the reminder to make the ones I love feel special. If you have a significant other I encourage you to be creative and try to come up with a unique and meaningful way of celebrating your love for each other! (even if its super simple!) If you don’t have a significant other I encourage you to find a creative way to let someone you love know you appreciate them or to take that time to treat yourself. (which brings me to my next point)
- Fall in love with taking care of yourself! I read this quote that you can only deeply know and love someone else as much as you deeply know and love yourself. We have such high rates of people struggling with poor mental health, burnout, and low self-esteem that we need to rediscover genuine love for ourselves. I encourage you to do 1 thing on Valentine’s day that is a symbol of your love for you! Cuz honestly you are beloved, you are worthy of love, and you are enough.
- ‘Pick up your cross daily and follow me’ – we are called to make a difference here on this earth. We are called to justice, love, and mercy. And in doing so we are called to stand up for what is right, for truth, even if it comes with a cost. What can you do today as a symbol of your love for justice and truth – ‘settings things right’?
Need some ideas? I know I sure did…. that’s why I have saved tons for you on Pinterest!
Great Valentine’s Day Gifts @ one of my favourite stores – Indigo/Chapters
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