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What comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day? I’ll be honest, I think of heart-shaped boxes covered in red foil and filled with chocolates. No flowers for me, just chocolate. When we were kids, our Grandpa always bought a box of conversation hearts for each of us grandkids. Sure the candy didn’t taste very good, but the boxes were cute, and it was tradition.
Since Megan and I love history, we’d like to shed some light on Cupid’s Day. The holiday began as a feast day honoring one or more saints named Valentine. There are many martyrdom stories surrounding St. Valentine, but there’s one in particular that’s fascinating. This St. Valentine of Rome was thrown in prison. His alleged crime? Performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry as well as ministering to Christians. While imprisoned, St. Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. Asterius had his prisoner executed, but not before St. Valentine wrote Asterius’s daughter a letter and signed it ”Your Valentine.” How utterly sweet.
During the 18th century in England, Valentine’s Day became more romantic in nature. It was then customary to give your beloved flowers, candy, or greeting cards (called “valentines.”). In Europe, people gave their lovers a “Saint Valentine Key” which was their creatively romantic way of saying, “unlock my heart.” The keys were given to children as well, but for a different reason: to ward off epilepsy, which they called Saint Valentine’s Malady. Nice!
However you celebrate Valentine’s Day, remember the source of all love, and that is God. We love because He first loved us. May God bless you and keep you (and make your husband buy you chocolate).