Friday, February 14, 2014

Are You Prepared For Valentine’s Day?

I have never been a huge proponent of Valentine’s Day. Maybe that is why I have always been a little light on the celebration of this day in the past few years. I have never fully neglected the day, which is why I am still alive, but it has never been a square on the calendar that got a huge amount of attention and planning. In fact, this year, my wife and I exchanged gifts for the first time in three years now that we have the ability to purchase gifts. Nothing big but things that we will both enjoy (i.e. Wizard of Oz DVDs and Chocolate for my wife and Amazon Prime membership for me).

This year in particular, while it was nice to exchanged gifts we didn’t have much energy for much else as the weather and other recent events have drained us of much of our energy. But, in the end, it makes you think about the real purpose of the day. Why should this day be different than all the others? Why isn’t love part of the daily experience and a way of living?

Let us take a moment to stop and take a look at the history of the holiday. Here is the listing from Wikipedia:

Saint Valentine's Day, also known as Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it is not a holiday in most of them.

St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to February 14, and added to later martyrologies. A popular hagiographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell. Today, Saint Valentine's Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion, as well as in the Lutheran Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine's Day, albeit on July 6 and July 30, the former date in honor of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and the latter date in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni). In Brazil, the Dia de São Valentim is recognized on June 12.

The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. 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 (known as "valentines"). Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

Now to answer the previously posed questions. Actually, one answer should suffice. Valentine’s Day, like many other days noted on the calendar, is a time which reminds us of what we have and what can be possible when love is made a central part of our lives. It is in this spirit that we should all embrace this day regardless of its origins.

It should also serve as motivation for us all not only live a positive life but also appreciate and show our appreciation of those in our lives. Love, in all of its forms, is too often overlooked and relegated as a secondary emotion. Today is a reminder of its proper position as the primary purpose and motivator for a better life.