Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Redeeming Valentine's Day

Did you know there was not one but three different Saint Valentines? And yet none of the accounts of their lives really explain why romance is connected to this Saint Day.

One cute explanation is that Saint Valentine's Feast Day, February 14th, happens to be a day that birds choose their mate and thus it became customary for young lovers to chose their partner.

Or even further back the pagan Romans celebrated the feast for their Lupercas on the 15th and chose their partners, proposed marriage, or declared their love. When Rome became Christianized, the worship of the pagan gods stopped but the love making did not!

"...affection, love, and marriage are not the prerogative of a pagan cult only. There was but one apsect the celebration that had to be changed: its patronage. And so, in place of goddess Juno Februarta a Christian saint took over." The saint closest to this date was the priest and martyr Valentine.

Historically, then, Valentine's Day is an example of Christians redeeming the culture. And now in our day perhaps this needs to be done again. Though we no longer sacrifice to pagan gods, the day has become another example of materialism and self-focus. For many it is filled with loneliness and hurt. To redeem it once again, we can focus as families on the Divine Love and how that love spurred St. Valentine and other Christian martyrs to lose it all for that Love.

To find more information on the Saints Valentine:

The book to read with the kids, Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda

How we'll celebrate:

I never really liked Valentine's Day until we had kids. It always seemed to be a big, commercial holiday that forced unrealistic expectations on people. But now I love finding ways to bring delight and happiness into our lives. For the past few years, I've woken early to make waffles with strawberry syrup and whipped cream before RJ went off to work. Then the kids and I read about Saint Valentine and make our own Valentines to send. I know that this means they won't arrive on time to our family and friends but since the kids are so young it makes more sense to do it altogether. Since this year Valentine's Day falls on our feast night, I will still make our special breakfast but I'll also make the heart cake my mom always made for us as kids too.

We will focus on the question--who is Love, how has Love changed us, how can we show Love in our home, our neighborhood, what are we willing to do for Love?

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

IJohn 4:7,8

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