For a number of years I worked with the husband of the creative Director of Hallmark Cards, each year they would go away on at least two expensive cruises, maybe it was sour grapes on my part, but I used to moan endlessly at the marketing we now have around Valentines Days, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and every other occasion when companies like greeting cards firms make money out of the mass marketing opportunities, no doubt providing the funds, for my friend to enjoy his cruises. My children have been so indoctrinated by me that if they accidentally say “Mother’s Day” they correct themselves immediately with “I mean Mothering Sun-day” so I can hardly believe that I have the cheek to write a letter mentioning St Val-entine’s Day.
According to my font of all knowledge “Google” Valentine’s Day is very an-cient, dating back to the early days of the Christian community, when performing healing ministry and preaching the Gospel message was forbidden, there were sev-eral “Valentines” who broke the rules, which often led to martyrdom, healing the sick and preaching to those in need, tradition tells that a certain Valentine restored sight to a girl, just before he was executed, he sent a note with the inscription “from your Valentine. As with so many aspects of life today, our modern tradition has shifted somewhat from where it started.
I respect anybody who has the romantic desire to tell a special person how much they are loved, to make them feel special and loved and that is in keeping the tradition of the day, maybe it’s a good message for all of us, because surely the true message of the Christian Church regardless of our denomination is a message of love and any attempts to share love in the world today has got to be vital, perhaps at a time when we remember that God so loved the world that he sent his own be-loved son.
In our twenty first century world, we have perhaps become hardened to the news stories that invade our lives on a daily basis, I am concerned that nearly every soap opera these days starts with a warning that storylines might upset people and finish with a helpline number in case we’ve been disturbed, maybe I am being overly negative, but is there anything wrong with encouraging people to make love the key sentiment for one day of the year? Perhaps my challenge to the Church is to encourage people to make love the top of their daily agenda every day!
So, whilst I might still nag about those who make days like Valen-tines a massive marketing opportunity, I think the Church needs to embrace these sentiments and remind the work towards showing the world that we are the people who do the work of the God of Love. Derek