Is Valentine’s Day a Christian Holiday

It seems obvious from our culture and the roots of the holiday that Valentine’s Day is not commonly considered a “Christian” holiday. It’s not like Easter or Christmas. People don’t flock to church, or put on pageants of Bible stories. And we don’t see a myriad of cards or decorations that reflect elements of the gospel. Valentine’s day is about LOVE–showing love, receiving love, enjoying time with your one special love, giving little mementos and treats to those you care about.

So if Valentine’s Day is about love and Jesus said to his followers, “They will know you are my disciples if you have LOVE one for another,” then maybe Valentine’s should be considered a Christian holiday! What if  we celebrated Valentine’s Day by showing Christ’s love in special, purposeful ways to those around us? What if we shifted the focus from cupid’s delusional version of romantic love to God’s perfectly demonstrated love, through Jesus Christ. After all, if Valentine’s Day is really about love, “God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Son…”

But how? What would we do to celebrate Valentine’s Day through the paradigm of the gospel? Here is just one example of what that might look like from my own personal life:

When Joel went away to prison all the holidays we had celebrated together had to be “revamped” and celebrated differently. To be honest those days that once brought us such joy and delight, became almost burdensome without one another’s company. The following is a story of what happened to me  on Joel’s first Valentine’s Day in prison.

It was a Friday, so I had finished school early and was home by lunchtime. I was walking up the steps when I noticed something propped up against the door. It was a vase with roses and a note! The note was a simple Valentine’s Day card with “Love, Joel” written inside. I could not imagine how Joel had managed this little gift since he was barricaded behind razor wire in a federal facility more than three hours away. This was my first Valentine’s Day alone. I knew he had to have had help, but I could not think of whom. My in-laws were out of town, so I knew right away it could not have been them. I called my mom, hoping to catch a clue from her tone of voice. (She’s not a great secret keeper.) But she seemed genuinely surprised and assured me she had nothing to do with it. None of my other family members seemed to know where the flowers had come from either. I was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of some unknown friend who never was revealed. My first Valentine’s Day became a day to celebrate God’s precious kindness to me, even in the absence of my beloved.

I share this story, because it is such a beautiful picture of what it looks like to love one another well–to celebrate Christ’s love for each of us. I still don’t know who showed Joel and me the love of Christ through flowers that Valentine’s day 4 years ago (And if you’re reading this, please be blessed to know how grateful I still am for your demonstration of love) but I know it was a purposeful act of the body to love as Christ loved us. I hope you’ll find ways to do the same and make this day a “Christ-filled” holiday!

 

 


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