Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine History

I did some research on Valentine's Day two years ago and this is what I learned.

Valentine from the Latin Valentinus from Valens and valere meaning to be strong.
(Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

Saint Valentine or Saint Valentinus refers to one or more martyred saints of ancient Rome.

The feast of Saint Valentine was formerly celebrated on February 14 by the Roman Catholic Church until the revised calendar 1969.

His birth date and birthplace are unknown. Valentine's name does not occur in the earliest list of Roman martyrs, which was compiled by the Chronographer of 354.

The feast of St. Valentine was first decreed in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among those "... whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God."

As Gelasius implied, nothing is known about the lives of any of these martyrs.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the saint whose feast was celebrated on the day now known as St. Valentine's Day was possibly one of three martyred men named Valentinus who lived in the late third century, during the reign of Emperor Claudius II (died 270):

The Saints Valentine were strong in their faith in that they were willing to give up their earthly lives for the name of Christ.

As we exchange valentines to each other to show our love or fondness for each other it is a great time to remember that the best valentine or declaration of love has already been given to us.

God's perfect, holy Word is a love letter to us and shows us that He had and continues to have a plan for us to no longer be separated from Him. Jesus was "valentine" or strong in His determination to carry out God's will even when it was very painful and difficult to do so.

Another definition of valentine is "worthy of praise" (Merriam-Webster online).

Because of God's great love for us and Jesus' willingness to buy us back from the bonds of sin, They are worthy of our praise. 1 Chronicles 16:25a says.

"For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised."

And Psalm 63:3 says
" Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise Thee."
(both scriptures from the NASB)

Last year I had the kids tie small, written expressions of praise or love for the Lord to latex balloons and release them outside. The weather was a little uncooperative for one of our balloons which got struck in a tree. But we tried again and it finally went up.

I plan on having them do that again and thought I would share before rather than after in case anyone wanted to do this too. :)

***Slightly modified from Feb 12, 2009 post.

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