This month we will celebrate the holiday referred to as Valentine’s Day. It is a time when we show others that we care for them. Small gifts of cards, candy, and flowers are part of the tradition.
But it might surprise you to find out that this holiday started out as a day to remember a Christian hero. According to the history books, Valentine was a 3rd century Christian preacher who lived near Rome. At this time the Roman Emperor Claudius II was ordering all young men not to marry. He thought they made better soldiers if they were single. No man could marry until he was too old to serve in the military. He also commanded that all people worship the false gods of Rome.
Valentine was arrested for performing Christian marriages and preaching that there was only one true God – the God of the Bible.
Valentine knew that no man – even the king – had the right to stop Christians from marrying (1 Corinthians 7:8-9). You see, while Romans 13:1-7 tells us that we are to respect and obey our leaders, Acts 5:29 tells us that when man’s law contradicts God’s law, we should obey God. And that’s what Valentine did ignoring the king’s orders. Claudius commanded Valentine’s arrest.
While in prison, many Christians threw little notes of encouragement through Valentine’s prison window. These were the first valentines.
In the end, Claudius had Valentine beheaded for his faith. It was because he loved the Lord and his fellow humans so much that he was willing to risk his life to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
This gives us pause when we think of Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day represents much more than romantic love. It is a day that honors God and those who love Him … and obey Him.