The Gift of Love
We often hear that you can’t buy love, but in 2012 close to $18 billion was spent in the U.S. alone on Valentine’s Day. One billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, coming in second to the 2.6 billion cards that are sent on Christmas. If ever there was a time to do something unique, I would say this is it and what better cause than in the name of love.
The stories about St. Valentine vary, but it is widely believed that St. Valentine was a Roman priest around 270 A.D. who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians who were persecuted. He was executed on February 14.
There are a couple of other saints connected to love. St. Raphael is one of the seven Archangels and the patron saint of romantic meetings. His feast day is celebrated on September 29th. St. Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers. In the 1960’s there was a movement to celebrate St. Dwynwen and by 2004, January 25th became the festival day for Welsh lovers.
St. Valentine’s first recorded association to love wasn’t until the 14th century in a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer, and it is believed that Chaucer was actually referring to Valentine of Genoa.
The name Valentine means worthy, strong and powerful. Looking up the history of St. Valentine and the other saints connected to love left me to wonder why we would attach the very emotion of love we all hold so dear to saints whose life stories are factually uncertain and whose life endings were not at all happy but in fact quite tragic. Do we really want to place so much time, money and energy into just one day when we could celebrate love in a big way each and every day?
Valentine’s Day will remind you of Christmas with stores, flower shops and restaurants being jam packed. How is that intimate or unique? Instead, why not find your own way to celebrate? Declare your love by sending flowers earlier or later in the year, just because. Pack a romantic picnic for two or as my family and I do, a Celebration of Life picnic for five. I’m a huge proponent of making special gifts for the people I love so once again I’m going to suggest that you bake or cook one of your specialties or that you consider writing a thoughtful letter that expresses your love and appreciation. Last year’s Valentine’s price tag in America was $18 billion. Imagine what would happen if even a small percentage of those who planned on celebrating this year chose instead to donate their Valentine’s Day money to champion a cause they were in love with? I bet even St. Valentine himself would approve of that.
However you decide to celebrate the gift of love, I hope you know that you are love and were created from a great source of the purest form of love. I hope this love within you continues to multiply and that it overflows outside of you to spark something within someone who is in dire need of love. I hope the constant love that resides within you helps you to be thankful for the love you have in your life, not just one day out of the year but today, tomorrow and always.
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