Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Love you more

Today is a repeat of a Nightly Tea posting from Valentine's Day 2011.

For the record:  St. Valentine is not the patron saint of greeting cards, Dove chocolates, or restaurant dinners.  Indeed, there are probably very few young people who even associate Valentines Day with a  saint, let alone a “religious” holiday.

Valentine, known as Valentinus, was a priest who lived in Rome in the mid-200s AD when being a Christian meant certain death.  He aided Christian martyrs during their persecution, and as a result was arrested and imprisoned.  He survived in jail for a year before he was brought before the emperor  Claudius the Second who offered Valentinus to save his life if he worshiped the Roman gods.  Valentinus refused.   He was condemned and martyred on February 14, 270 AD, beaten by clubs, stoned and beheaded.  Hardly a Hallmark moment.

Legend tells that before his death, Valentinus fell in love with the blind daughter of the jailer, who along with her father had converted to Christianity.  As a way of saying good-bye on the eve of his death, he wrote her a message and signed it, “From Your Valentine.”  The jailer and his daughter were also later sentenced to death by the emperor.  Chocolate and soft music did not enter the picture until centuries later.

And it seems very appropriate that a holiday that is associated with love is also associated with God.  Valentinus risked his life and died a martyr’s death not to earn God’s favor or gain points with God.  Valentinus did it because he loved God.  He knew what God’s love meant.  It was not something he deserved or earned, but because that is how God revealed Himself to us.

But God shows His love for us
in that while we were yet sinners
Christ died for us.
                          Romans 5.8

Red is the color of sacrifice.  And there is no one who loves you more.

Recently I read about a family who fostered a little boy who had come from a horrific background.  Not knowing how long they would be able to nurture and love this little one, they cared for him deeply.  Every night when they tucked him in bed, they would ask him, “What does God say when He sees you?”  They taught him to say, “I sure do love that little boy!”

God loves you that much too.  Don’t ever forget it.

Happy Valentines Day, sweet friends.

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