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Should You Participate in Valentine's Day?

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Each year millions of people observe Valentine’s Day. By sending cards and giving flowers, candy and other gifts, many consider the holiday as an opportunity to show affection to their special sweethearts.

Of course buying presents and doing nice things for one’s true love is admirable. But should you and I participate in Valentine’s Day as a means of showing fondness and esteem? More importantly, is this something our Creator God endorses and honors?

When it comes to showing appreciation and affection to a sweetheart, a God-centered person doesn’t need a pagan-originated holiday to motivate him.

The foundation of Valentine’s Day goes back nearly 2,400 years to the 4th century B.C. Among various customs of the time, youthful Romans engaged in the annual fertility rite of Lupercalia in honor of the pagan god Lupercus. During this practice it was customary for the names of adolescent girls to be written on pieces of paper and placed in a box. Then teenage boys each drew out a girl’s name. Afterwards the girls were consigned to the boys for their mutual sexual gratification.

Replacing a pagan deity with a “lovers saint”

The Roman Catholic Church sought to end this fertility rite in the late 4th century A.D. by replacing the deity Lupercus with a “lovers saint.” They found the ideal candidate in Valentine, a bishop who had been martyred 200 years earlier. As a result, in A.D. 496 Pope Gelasius I changed the February 14th celebration to honor St. Valentine.

Interestingly, the Church maintained the festival’s name-drawing feature. However, rather than having boys choose the names of available girls, now each boy and girl selected the name of a “saint.” The purpose of this activity was to encourage young people to emulate the life of their chosen saint throughout the year. Nevertheless, because the former pagan festival had been so popular, that custom was short-lived. Soon young men began sending cards to young women they wanted to court. These became known as Valentine’s Day cards.

When the Roman Catholic Church instituted the change from Lupercalia to St. Valentine’s Day, its objective was to transform a former, popular pagan fertility rite into a “Christian holiday.” By instituting this and other such practices, pagans were influenced to embrace the church while still continuing in “Christianized” pagan traditions.

Practices rooted in immoral conduct

Considering the origins of this popular lover’s holiday, let’s go back to my original question. Does it make any difference whether you and I participate in Valentine’s Day? Well, it doesn’t really matter if God doesn’t exist. But God does exist, and He censures customs and practices rooted in false worship and immoral conduct (Ephesians 4:22 Ephesians 4:22That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
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, 1 Peter 1:15 1 Peter 1:15But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation;
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, 2 Peter 3:11 2 Peter 3:11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
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). Also, putting a new face on an old, ungodly observance is as wrong as the original evil. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20 Isaiah 5:20Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
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God says to those who diligently want to follow Him, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32 Deuteronomy 12:32What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
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). Also, the apostle Paul wrote, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 2:12 Romans 2:12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
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). God’s Word is clear to those who have “ears to hear” (Mark 4:9 Mark 4:9And he said to them, He that has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Avoiding wrong customs and observances

When it comes to showing appreciation and affection to a sweetheart, a God-centered person doesn’t need a pagan-originated holiday to motivate him. We should all be careful to follow God’s desires by diligently keeping His commandments and carefully avoiding customs and observances He does not sanction.

There is much more to the story of Valentine’s Day, as well as vital information on the true annual Holy Days which God has instituted for all humanity. 

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  • joshUare

    I when I was young and easily influenced I used to agree with what you say on this site. But the more I read your stuff the less I agree. I mean honestly I think the world does focus too much on attraction and infatuation and not on building true meaningful lasting relationships. But really??? Not celebrating valentines day just because once upon a time there where some people that believed in a god and they worshiped their god by having sex? I think wisely the church at the time recognized the peoples need for love so instead of just abolishing the holiday and berating the young people for having sex, they attempted to guide them and teach them a better way.
    Instead of prohibiting everything that has ever had any connection to evil how about you teach people about what love really means, what jesus taught about love, how the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and strength and the second is like it to love your neighbour as yourself. Maybe use this as an opportunity to explain these things remind people to turn their hearts to God and remember that even when we are in that infatuation stage of a relationship we still need to remember to put God first. Remind people that love isn’t just some fleeting thing that lasts for a moment but that it lasts a lifetime and grows to become stronger as you cherish and nurture it.
    Isn’t this a better way?

  • dust_i_am

    So it is wrong to show love on February 14? Especially considering “God is love”?

  • joshUare

    totally agree with you dust I am. I can see their point but it doesn’t really hold up against the character of God. It’s not like we are actually worshipping a pagan God and going out and being immoral. I think this is yet another opportunity to share the character of God with others but instead, it is trying to be turned in to yet another thing the church is against. How about just tell the world “i hate you and want to make your life as miserable as possible”

  • Bryanel

    Josh and Dust_I_ Am I agree with you that the greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart,soul(life) and with all your mind. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. As well God is love. But I must disagree with the perspective of Valentine’s Day, You seem to understand the meaning behind it as to it worships a pagan Goddess Juno who was the queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses and wife of Zeus. The first commandment is to have no other gods before me. I respect your perspective of thinking for yourself, we must prove all things to ourselves. Why celebrate a pagan Holiday when you know what it really represents, sugar coat things Satan does do, but when you have the knowledge of the true origin why condone it ?

  • Norbert Z

    From my experience the message behind St. Valentine’s day is a message about romantic love. Which is not what John was writing about when he penned down, “God is love”. A few verses later a reader can see how his own thoughts are actually defining “love”.

    “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

    So what does love really mean? “That we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous”.

    In my view many people unknownly substitute the romantic love expressed in St. Valentine’s day and celebrate it, confusing it with the love of God. Such a thing only further misleads and deceives people about the true meaning and character of love found in God.

    “Keep his commandments: and his commandments are Not Grievous”.

  • lifelonglori
    Little known fact: Anyone can pick a bunch of scripture to justify just about anything they want. It isn’t the Christians duty to point out scripture that make us the better person. It is the responsibility of every Christian to LIVE OUT what the bible says. Its no wonder people who aren’t Christians call us hypocrites. God is love. He has called us to love, to get rid of that sinful nature, and live out our faith under His guidance. Valentine’s Day is man’s attempt to show love, when we christian know that each day is full of love, from a heavenly father. I noticed the writer used Deuteronomy to call us to a better action. Little did he say that Deuteronomy is the story of the Israelites as the wandered for over 40 years! This book of the bible emphasizes how Israel must live in a land God will give them. But God doesn’t stop there. He doesn’t give these laws without its fulfillment… JESUS. The most important thing a Christian can share is their love. So, yes, Valentine’s Day has a history, that is not Christian. But as a christian I see no bad thing in celebrating love to the people in your life. What the world sees as a day of celebration, is only ⅓65 of the love He offers! And that needs to be the goal!
  • Skip
    Hi lifelonglori, I agree that we can do pretty much whatever we wish as long as it isn’t against the law. Even then, it is only if we are seen breaking the law that we get in trouble. I do wonder what God (who sees & hears whatever He wishes)thinks about Valentines? Can we know what God thinks? Well, if we read & understand how God felt about those Old Testament Israelites we can get an inkling about how God thinks today. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today & forever. I think His Father is much the same.
  • John LaBissoniere
    I would like to point you to a recently published article that discusses showing love and it’s relationship with God’s law. I believe it will help answer your questions on the subject. Please see: “Valentine’s Day: What’s Wrong With Showing Love?”…
  • stephe n amber
    GOD IS LOVE, So we should be celebrating love everyday not just on one day. I believe that’s what the Lord would want. The greatest Commandment. Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the FIRST and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:’ Love your neighbor as yourself.’

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