Valentine’s Day is a blood bath.

image credit @shane.claiborne on instagram

Despite what the romcoms on TV, the diabolical evil geniuses behind Big Sugar™️, and the bigwigs over at Build-A-Bear have told you, Valentine’s Day is not aaaaaactually about romance (I said that in a French accent, btw).

*Saint* Valentine’s Day commemorates the life of a 3rd-century Roman Christian.

You see, the Roman Emporer believed unmarried men made better soldiers, so he issued an edict prohibiting marriages. In response to this, St. Valentine bravely continued to perform underground weddings, at the risk of his life, for Christians (and possibly others), which angered the Emporer and frustrated his plans to send dudes off to war.

In addition, St. Valentine was known for miraculously healing people with epilepsy, blindness, and more.

He was jailed for defying the anti-marriage ordinance, and while imprisoned he befriended the JAILER’S DAUGHTER, Julia, who was blind.

Naturally, St. Valentine prayed for Julia’s sight to be restored. It was. She was miraculously, totally healed.

It is rumored that before his execution, Valentine sent Julia a note signed, “Your Valentine”. (Beginning the long tradition of sending notes to people we love on Valentine’s Day).

According to Shane Claiborne, author and activist, “Valentine was beaten with stones, clubbed, and, finally, beheaded on February 14, 269.”

Valentine’s life was less an example of romantic love with flowers and chocolates and festive undies, as it was a call to loving our enemies, standing up for what we believe in, and giving yourself for a cause greater than yourself.

According to Claiborne, who is also one of the authors behind the Common Book of Prayer, St. Valentine was relentless in his devotion to his faith and his comrades.

St. Valentine passionately fulfilled the command of Jesus to “love [our] enemies, and pray for those that despitefully use [us]”.

So often we point to shiny, glittery things and say “this is love”. But in real life, love often looks much different than it is portrayed.

In reality, love is often a bloody, sweaty, gritty, exhausting mess. It isn’t always pretty, it isn’t always pleasant.

It’s sacrificial. It’s eternal. It goes beyond mood or feeling — it’s a choice.

It’s a sippy cup full of milk at 2am when you can’t keep your eyes open. It’s fixing your partner’s plate before your own, even though you got into a fight earlier.

It’s being kind to those who are rude to you. It’s answering with a soft tone when someone has spoken to you harshly. It’s sharing your lunch with that coworker you despise.

This is real love. This is the message of St. Valentine’s Day.

So, if you want to *properly* celebrate V-Day this year, try doing something nice for someone you don’t like…because real love doesn’t fit in a heart-shaped box; it extends itself and reaches even those who don’t deserve it.

“The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play and as we watch, the world says ‘This is love.’ God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, ‘This is love’.”

Joshua Harris

#love #people #valentinesday

Check out Shane Claiborne’s post, which inspired mine, here: