Most people don’t realize that Valentine’s Day began as a religious celebration of one or more saints known as “Valentinus.”
Legend has it that one saint was imprisoned in the 3rd century for ministering to and helping to illegally marry persecuted Christians in the Roman Empire. It has been recorded that this saint wrote a love letter to the jailer’s daughter that initiated the tradition, signed “From your Valentine.”
Over the years, various religious denominations picked up the holiday and still celebrate the love it represents in churches across the world. Although not considered a holiday in many countries, it is still celebrated worldwide under secular influences, with hearts, chocolates, and flowers (with cupid now playing the lead role).
Today, while we celebrate the love we have for each other, I want us to remember the love that God first showed us.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
19 We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:7-11, 19 ESV)