Like most of the other “festive days” in our calendar, Valentines day has been hi-jacked by commercialism. When I was a restaurant manager, Valentines (weekend) was the one of, if not, the busiest weekend of the entire year. If per chance a snowstorm would hit (which happened frequently), the budget for the entire year was often lost. To say that Valentines day is big business is an understatement.
But what or maybe better, where did Valentines day come from? The complete story of its origins is incomplete. What we do know with modest certainty is that the man, Valentine, would be shown a martyr’s death in 270 AD confessing Christ Jesus to his last breath. Pope Gelasius would later write that Valentine is among those “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.”
Tradition tells us that Valentine was a doctor and a priest. Caring for a person’s body as well as their spiritual health. This was certainly a mark of a person who demonstrated tender care of others. In this noble profession did he mirror our Lord Jesus Christ, who healed the sick and lame and brought salvation to all who would believe.
On the day of his death, Valentine is said to have offered up words of love and encouragement to the young daughter of his jailer by writing her a letter. It seems as thought she had grown to love Valentine and the thought of his death was very grievous to her. Hence, the custom of Valentines cards first came to light, and not long after that tradition spread far and wide.
From what is really a rather obscure life, Valentine demonstrated unyielding boldness and courage in face of his own death. He carried the cross of Christ in the perfect expression of humility and sacrifice. He encouraged those who knew and loved him in perfect obedience of the Christians call to “not neglect to build each other up”.
Most of us have no understanding of the man who started this tradition, probably, most don’t even know that Valentines day is named after a saint. But it is God who remembers His saints, and He does so across all of time. You do not need to have a special day named after you in order to be counted as one of God’s saints.