Yesterday was Valentine's Day. All week long the boys have been making valentines to take to the kids in their class and boxes to hold all the ones they would get from their classmates. Wesley even had a valentine's day party with his class. And sure enough when they both came home yesterday, they were LOADED up with the sweet stuff. Candy hearts, lollipops, pop rocks, and even those pixie sticks. Remember those, those are just flavored sugar in a paper tube. Last night was a lot of fun in the Allen household.
But I did a bit of research into the origins of Valentine's Day. Do you know how it all got started?
In the third century, the Roman Empire was ruled by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus. He was nicknamed Claudius the Cruel because of his harsh leadership and his tendency for getting into wars and abusing his people. In fact, he was getting into so many wars during the third century that he was having a difficult time recruiting enough soldiers.
Claudius believed that recruitment for the army was down because Roman men did not want to leave their loves or families behind, so he canceled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Thousands of couples saw their hopes of matrimony dashed by the single act of a tyrant. And no one seemed interested in standing up to the emperor.
But a simple Christian priest named Valentine did come forward and stood up for love. He began to secretly marry soldiers before they went off to war, despite the emperor’s orders. In 269 AD Emperor Claudius found out about the secret ceremonies. He had Valentine thrown into prison and deemed that he would be put to death.1
And he did. This one man put himself in danger, and was eventually executed, standing up for love. But he was not the first! God was. God stood up for love, coming to earth in human form, as Jesus, to meet us, humanity, where we were. To speak to us in a way that we could understand. To help us realize that we are beloved by an eternal God. For me Zephaniah 3:17 expressed this idea well, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." I have that piece of Scripture hanging by my desk in the office.
I love the fact that God so adores us that just the thought of us causes him to break out into song. You see, God's love is so overwhelming that he had to find a way to reach us, to draw us closer to him, to pave the way so that we could always be with him. That bridge was created, that debt was paid, by his son, our savior, Jesus Christ.
So this year when you think about Valentine's Day, think about your eternal Valentine. Think about the one that breaks into song at the very thought of you. Think about the one that made you, that loves you, and will never leave you. After all, he is thinking about you!
Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!
1. All Pro Dad. The Real Story Behind Valentine's Day. http://www.markmerrill.com/2011/02/14/the-real-story-behind-valentines-day/, 02/15/12.