THOUGHT PROVOKING: Is Valentine's Day Christ-like?
Feb. 12, 2019
During this time of the year, questions like “Is Valentine’s Day for Christians” often pop up. Is it Christ-like? Is St. Valentine’s Day not a fetish or pagan practice? Is it recommendable for Christians to participate?
We are well aware that the concept of Valentine's Day celebration as we know it today is more of a social norm or practice. It is neither a doctrinal or scriptural practice.
Strictly speaking, despite the fact that a lot of emphasis is given to love in the Bible - In the King James Version for instance, love is mentioned 310 times, 131 times in the Old Testament and 179 times in the New Testament.
The NIV and Good News Bible each use 'love' more than 500 times.
This is excluding “loved, loves, loving and other variants of the word.
However, there is nowhere in scripture we are commanded to set aside a day to celebrate love, whether it is romantic love or the usually brotherly love that is espoused in scripture.
"Do everything in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves." Romans 12:9-10
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. ‘There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8
"A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:2-3
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." ~ 1 Peter 4:8
Jesus taught that the whole of the law can be reduced to two commandments: to love God and to love your neighbours. This implies something one should practice as often as there is is opportunity.
According to 1 John 4:7 - As Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that the world will know us by our love. The greatest testimony that we can be is to love those around us - whether family, friends or stranger. God puts no limits on love.
So should Christians practice or participate in Valentine?
Is Valentine Christ like?
First, note that Saint Valentine, for whom the day is named, was an outstanding Christian. His life exemplified the spirit of Christ. I
Secondly, everything in the world is about Jesus: every shred of story is a gloss to the gospel; every event significant in proportion to its proximity to the great Event; every holiday, sacred or secular, is holy precisely because it is a day. And certainly romance is included in the scope of everything in the world that is about Jesus.
Did Jesus say at the marriage of Cana, “They don’t really need the wine.
“The wedding vows are the important thing,
“Everything else is secondary”?
But he couldn’t say that. Because nothing else is secondary. Everything in the world is about Jesus.
Valentine is definitely not a day on the Christian calendar like Good Friday, Easter or Christmas. In that sense, it is not technically a Christian holiday.
The chief argument is often that the Saint Valentine’s Day celebration has been morphed into something that is only about intimacy, romance, sex and gifts.
This is because when we think of love, our minds often focus on the aforementioned; but that is a very limited view of love. The biblical view of love is to love another not because of what they give you, but because of who you are. We are love beings.
It is important to clarify that even those are not bad in themselves. God created romance. He created Passion and he created Sex.
And yes, romance and all that is included under that rubric belong to that divine Lover: Saint Valentine and all his retainers, from the red roses to the candle-lit dinners, even down to the tiny candy hearts — they all point to Jesus, the great Wooer, who, not content with passively inviting, by his Spirit sovereignly draws his beloved to himself.
To forget that Jesus endorses sex, romance, gifts, intimacy is to forget the breathless eroticism of the Song of Solomon.
Jesus is still in the business of filling empty cups with wine, joy, happiness and romance and whether the world chooses Valentine’s Day to do so should not be a problem.
What we can do as believers is not to quarrel over the date but to make it better.
When we participate in Saint Valentine’s Day, we should not be only about our partners and spouses, we can make this “unnecessary and entirely wonderful event” a tradition of romance and courtly love that reaches out to people and points squarely to our Lord, Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 13:5 says, “Love seeketh not its own”. If Valentine is celebrated in this manner by every believer, I am very sure it is something Christ wants no matter the day it is done.