There are at least three ways for the Christian to respond to any cultural artifact - from the fanfare over Jeremy Lin to the death of Whitney Houston to the frenetic activity that surrounds Valentine’s Day. We can imbibe it in all of its cultural trappings as good and God-honoring, we can reject and resist having anything to do with it, or we can wisely reconfigure it so that what is good remains while we cut away what hardens our heart towards the pursuit of God.
I contend that Valentine’s Day is neither something we should adopt carte blanche, nor is it something we should reject out of hand. There are ways to observe Valentine’s Day that we step away from because they keep us from articulating the ‘never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever’ love of God through our love for each other, yet at the same time we embrace elements of Valentine’s Day that help us to express this kind of covenant love between family, friends and lovers.
As my boys grow older and my marriage ages like fine wine, I want to mature in how I love Lindsey and our sons on this day. So I’m helped by reminders - and cautions - about what this day means when we view it through the lens of history.
Mark Driscoll encourages us to consider the day in light of the life of St. Valentine, who was beheaded in 278 AD because of his devotion to Jesus. For me, the reminder calls me to love with depth and substance, not relying entirely on spending money to articulate my affections but utilizing gifts and meals and moments alone to add ballast to a life of love together.
John Piper quotes love letters from Jonathan Edwards and Martyn Lloyd-Jones as a reminder that we were made to enjoy God forever - and that one of his gifts to us in that pursuit is the opportunity and the ability to love someone with staggering intensity, resolve, and passion.