For every spiritual truth, there is a cheap substitute, and some are known for having many substitutes. Holidays, especially ones with strong Christian origins, seem to have been more perverted than others. The modern celebration of Valentine’s Day is one such holiday, that is, if it qualifies for actually being a legitimate holiday. Known today for being a day for the celebration of romantic love between couples, Valentine’s Day is something that many people feel had to have been invented by a greeting card company, and the vast majority of people have no idea how or when it originally began. In addition to this, it’s also a day that has become more commercialized and popularized over time. Is the true meaning of Valentine’s Day a good thing, or bad? What does this mean for singles?
St. Valentine's Day began as the traditional celebration of at least one early Christian saint named Valentinus. A popular account of Saint Valentine of Rome claims that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry as well as ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer. The day was first associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages, through the influence of Geoffrey Chaucer, when the tradition of courtly love was popular. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards. Very little seems to have changed over the last couple centuries in these regards.
The symbols of Valentine's Day that are used today, such as the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid, all originated during the 18th century. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. This is the very reason that many people feel obligated to get their significant other a gift on this day. So essentially, to those people in relationships, it was decided long before you were born. There’s nothing you can do about it. Cough it up to being one of the dues of being in a romantic relationship during the month of February, and move on. Go with the flow. Heaven forbid you and the love of your life actually choose to be original and abandon the whole so-called holiday, as it may result in strange expressions from others who find out. We wouldn’t want to be different at the expense of not meeting the social norm, would we?
Although many couples may actually enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day together, many single people feel quite to the contrary. Seeing all of the hearts, cards and chocolate boxes are enough to cause some to avoid fancy restaurants like the plague on February 14th, and draw them into hiding. If that’s how you feel, take heart, no pun intended, cause there’s good news for you. Instead of watching couples due all the predictable things that this holiday involves, treat yourself. Buy that book, movie or CD (yes, CD!) that you’ve been wanting. Appreciate all the money that’s still in your wallet, or rather, all the digital currency still associated to your plastic card, and enjoy a personal movie night. Do something that you enjoy doing, and don’t concern yourself with all the couples out there at crowded dining establishments in every city.
Beyond everything else, whether you’re single or not, you should realize how important you are simply for being the unique creation that you are. You’re not just a random collection of cells resulting from a random event nine months before you were born. You were formed in the image and likeness of the eternal God, and there has never been, nor will there ever be another person like you. Just as there is a substitute for every truth, Valentine’s Day is the celebration of human, romantic love, but you are a living testimony to God’s infinite love. Whether you’re single or joined, your value should rest in the completion found only in the wholeness found in Christ.