February 14, 2004 • By Ed Wrather
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. - John 3:14-17.
The history of Valentine’s Day is shrouded by the centuries of time. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints with the name of Valentine or Valentinus all of whom were martyred. One story tells of when Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men believing that they made better soldiers when they were not burdened with wives and families. According to the story, Valentine, seeing how unjust this was defied the Emperor, and in secret continued to marry young lovers. When the Emperor found out, he had Valentine executed.
From these ancient legends which all involved great trauma and demonstrations of love Valentine’s Day has taken on a life of its own which centuries ago would never have been thought about. In the Philippines, the day was celebrated setting a new world’s record with 5,122 couples all kissing at the same time.
Thousands viewed the event and cheered as they kissed at the stroke of midnight on Friday. The Philippines has many problems including a massive budget deficit, crime, and corruption. The world record kissing event along a 1.2-mile highway by Manila Bay was a nice break according to Mayor Lito Atienza who said, “Let’s take a break from the troubles we have been having, from our work, from political bickering, after all, it’s Valentine’s Day.”
Love is still alive and well in the 21st Century although love probably had little to do with the record kiss in Manila. Love is still alive and celebrated most likely because real love is motivated by a love for God and by His great example of sacrificial love. Real, Christian love, once experienced is unforgettable and has the power to change the course of lives. Perhaps the origin of Valentine’s Day really goes back to the sacrificial love of Jesus who died so that we would have a Savior.
What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day then to in some way follow the sacrificial example of Jesus, give up something in our lives, to show that love, demonstrate that love to someone else. As Jesus says, “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).”
Happy Valentine’s Day!!