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True Love

As millions of people around the world wore red and pink, exchange flowers cards, or candies, there were many who refrained from observing this holiday–Valentine’s Day.

For some, it’s a painful reminder that they’re single. For others, it’s just another way for Hallmark to cash in. For Christians, however, the history behind Valentine’s Day is a contradiction to their faith.

Putting aside all the materialism, Catholic saints, and Roman rituals, do we really know true love–the basis of  this holiday? Sadly, many of us would say yes ashamed to say otherwise.

The words, “I love you,” have been diluted. The words no longer hold as much meaning when they’re carelessly thrown around. True love has been exemplified through God’s love for His children–you and I.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [John 3:16 KJV]

Love is sacrifice, pain, patience, understanding, kind, appreciation, forgiving, respect.

What many of us call love is anything but love. We’re just too heartbroken to admit it to ourselves.

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Happy Valentine’s Day…NOT

With just a few minutes left in the most celebrated holiday on any calendar, we wanted to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day…NOT!

Millions of people across the globe have expressed their feelings towards one another on a day that many have accepted as the international day for love. After all of that you’re left with a tummy ache, a garbage full of red Valentine’s Day paraphernalia, and an empty wallet.

So what happens after February 14th? What is the next item on the agenda? It seems as if they world pauses to observe this day and then once the clock strikes midnight on February 15th, we resume our normal daily activities. Does that even make sense? Why is love the center of attention on any one particular day versus the entire year? Why do we need to spend hundreds of dollars on jewelry, fancy dinners, and boxes of chocolates to express our love? Why do the single people have to feel so single on this day, because people have chosen to go above and beyond?

Now that you’ve spent those 24 hours with your loved one, it’s time for a cup of truth. What’s the real story behind Valentine’s Day? After we share just a glimpse of this holiday’s history, this year may very well be the last year you ever celebrate it.

Jeremiah 10:2-3 says,”Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain…”

Let’s start the history lesson by answering some questions. Do you believe in the Greek gods? Have you ever heard of the gods, Juno and Pan? Cupid? Nimrod? Do you agree that a mother and son should wed? Do you worship gods other than the one true God? Have you ever heard of the festival of Lupercalia which was celebrated in ancient Rome? Do you believe in honoring the dead?

For every year that you have celebrated Valentine’s Day, you agreed to honor the dead. You agreed to worship the Greek gods. You commemorated the festival of Lupercalia.

According to several sources which include the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the History Channel, the following is a brief history of Valentine’s Day:

Rome was in a time of war and the emperor Claudius II Gothicus needed young, single men to join the draft. These men decided to get married in order to avoid the war so a priest named Valentine secretly married these couples despite the emperor’s ban against marriage. The priest signed a letter to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and with whom he had fallen in love, “from your Valentine.”  According to legend, the priest was jailed and later martyred about ad 270 by the emperor.

Daniel 11:36-37 says, “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”

The holiday also had its origins in the pagan Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa in Latin. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. As a fertility rite, the festival is also associated with the god Faunus.

The boys then sliced the goat’s hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goathide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. It came to be celebrated as a day of romance from about the 14th century. The Roman ‘lottery’ system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed.

Formal messages, or valentines, appeared in the 1500s, and by the late 1700s commercially printed cards were being used. The first commercial valentines in the United States were printed in the mid-1800s. Valentines commonly depict Cupid, the Roman god of love, along with hearts, traditionally the seat of emotion. Because it was thought that their mating season began in mid-February, birds also became a symbol of the day. Traditional gifts include candy and flowers, particularly red roses, a symbol of beauty and love. The day is popular in the United States as well as in Britain, Canada, and Australia, and it also is celebrated in other countries, including France and Mexico. It has expanded to expressions of affection among relatives and friends. Many schoolchildren exchange valentines with one another on this day.

John 3:16 says,”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Valentine’s Day had its roots in paganism and then the Christian church, specifically the Catholic church, made February 14th a day to honor the life of Saint Valentine. In the end, Valentine’s Day is about sin, pre-marital sex, animal sacrifice, bloodshed, death, human sacrifice. It is not based in Christ and has no basis for us as His followers. We cannot be grounded in anything that isn’t deeply rooted in Christ Himself.

Matthew 15:9 says, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” How can we as Christians say  we follow Christ and yet we celebrate Valentine’s Day with the world? Should we not be the trendsetters and not the followers? Have we gone astray? Nothing in this world happens by coincidence.

As you begin your own research on the origins of Valentine’s Day, we leave you with this scripture of meditation. Seek the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide you as you begin to uncover the truth behind these worldly holidays.

Deuteronomy 12:28-32 says,”Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.29When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”

Thanks for reading and remember God loves you. Be blessed!