Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14. It originated as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honoring one or more early saints namedValentinus, and is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country.
The fact that I had to google “the meaning of Valentine’s Day” got me thinking about all of the holidays we celebrate throughout the year and why this specific one is often hated upon.
If we look at Easter we see a bunny who apparently owns a chocolate factory and then hides it’s product for little kids to find. For Christmas we are met with a magical man in red who has the power to squeeze his fairly large self down chimneys or mysteriously walk through walls to deliver presents and Thanksgiving over the years has turned into a holiday where we gorge ourselves with food to ensure we are fueled up to spend the night shopping for “amazing deals”.
When it comes to all these truths I will not lie, I do and have participated in them. I loved receiving my chocolate Easter bunny, Santa was the coolest and who doesn’t like a good deal? I however never had these things define the true meaning of the holiday. I was taught first and foremost that Jesus was born, we celebrate his birth. It wasn’t about the chocolate, it is about the cross and the blood shed for my sins. Finally, being a fairly new “alien resident” to the United States I can honestly say that Thanksgiving (the American one) is starting to hold more meaning to me now that I have my boys since both them and I are learning about the real meaning of the holiday and why we celebrate it.
Then we come to Valentine’s Day and people either love it or hate it. I personally love it. I love that it is a holiday that celebrates love and does not purposely throw chocolate into the mix to provide an alternative route of celebration. By this I mean simple, anyone can celebrate Christmas and Easter because we as a culture have turned it into a giant bunny and Santa thing. Society has made it into a commercialized “what can I get out of it” holiday. It honestly boogles my mind how someone who does not believe in God can celebrate Christmas. To them it’s just a stat holiday where they are still being paid but instead of showing up for work they are able to be at home with their families eating, drinking and giving/receiving gifts. I see this as a slap in the face of Jesus, the one who was born to save all of humanity by being the perfect spotless sacrifice. The same thing goes for Easter. A whole weekend where we are reminded of the Crucifixion, burial and then resurrection of our Savior should not be taken lightly or made into just yet another opportunity for someone to cook a delicious ham and gather family together to eat it with a side of chocolate Easter eggs.
Again, I will say it. I do enjoy adding the “extras” if you can call them that, into the seasons of celebration. My boys do wake up to gifts under the tree, they participate in a mini Easter egg hunt and they benefit from the “deals” we sometimes pick up after eating thanksgiving turkey. However, they know the real reasons why we pause on those days to celebrate.
Today we celebrate love. Today is a day that we can choose to participate in or not. I do not think that this holiday should be looked down upon nor do I think we should put so much effort into it that we end up stressed out. It’s not about material things. Sure it’s nice to receive a gift (chocolate etc.), it’s fun for kids to make their valentines cards and give them to the people they care about but there’s no reason why those things can’t be done any other time of the year. Today is simply a day that we can pause and look around at those we are choosing to love.
Love is often described as a feeling but in reality isn’t is just a choice? We, as humans, were given the gift of free will. This means that at any time we can change our mind on who we are with, who we plan to be with and who we love. You do not have to be married or with someone to have love in your life, today could be about simply calling a friend or parent and telling them that they are loved. It is not about the gifts, no holiday is, but lets not brush off this day as a “commercial holiday”. Instead let’s view it as a day to remember, to reflect on who we choose. Let’s make it known to them that we will always continue to do so and maybe reach out to those around who may not feel loved but are… by you.
Valentine’s Day is meaningful if you make it that way. Love is a powerful thing. Without it, the world would be filled with only hate. As it stands now it seems like most days it is. Anyone who says that they do not need love is not being honest to you or themselves, everyone needs love and compassion.
Today and everyday I choose to love. It’s as simple as that!