The origins of Saint Valentine and Saint Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) are similar. Both men showed love in extraordinary ways! Wikipedia says “Saint Valentine of Rome … was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed ‘Your Valentine’ as a farewell.” A fine man he was! He sought justice under God’s laws. Saint Nicholas also strove to right wrongs. He purportedly was known for giving gifts generously including presenting a dowry to a young woman, allowing her to be married. I think, if Saint Valentine and Saint Nicholas had known each other on earth, they would have been comrades. I am sure they have MUCH to talk about in heaven! And how do you think they feel, if they know, about how their lives are celebrated worldwide? I would imagine that Santa is uncomfortable with sharing God’s Son’s birthday. But I am sure God congratulates him for his contribution to the day of his Son’s birth — that more than Christians celebrate the day. Realistically, it was God’s plan to happen that way!
As Christians, we are called to love as these saints did. Paul wrote in Colossians 3:12-14 — “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Today is a day for expressing love to all who are dear to us. It was one of my favorite classroom celebrations as a child. Annually, everyone brought a shoe box to school before Valentine’s Day. We spent art time decorating our box with construction paper, paper doilies, and crepe paper. I don’t remember it being said — if you bring Valentines, bring one for everyone in the room. But, a list did go home with each child to make sure you did not inadvertently forget someone. There were children in my school who could not afford Valentines, so they were silently excused from the obligation, yet that didn’t stop everyone else from dropping a card into their box. How have our manners gone so awry that it is newsworthy to report whether you give Valentines to your classmates or not.
I love preparing Valentines for those who are close to me: my grandchildren, other precious youngsters, and my children. I stopped at my son’s work on Thursday to leave the large box full of Valentine surprises for his family. After I left, I texted him reminding him to be gentle as there was something breakable in there. A couple of hours later, he called to ask about the key in his bag. WHAT? What a KID! He couldn’t wait one day??? He said everyone who walked by his desk stuck his hand in the box of gift bags to see what in there. Ugh! Grown men???
Tonight while sitting in the ER learning I chipped a bone earlier while practicing an ice skating pivot, I began reading a new digital Holley Gerth book which expounds on God’s great love for us. No matter how messed up our lives may be, do not despair. God has a reason for placing us in this position, and the reason ultimately is to bring glory to Him! Joseph is the perfect example: he was sold into slavery by his brothers, he was tricked by the Pharaoh’s wife and thrown into jail, from there he interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams and was placed in charge of saving the Egyptians and neighboring people’s (including his own brothers!) from starving in the seven years of drought. No matter how bleak our circumstances may seem, God loves us, we have a purpose, we are irreplaceable, and we are His forever.
Are you doing something today to go beyond the norm to show love?