“This can become a wonderful service project for children of all ages. Valentines can be made for the sick or homebound, those in long term care facilities, the women and men serving in the armed forces.”
Where Did Valentine’s Day Come From?
This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13
The association of St. Valentine with pink hearts, boxes of chocolates, and the exchange of romantic fancies has no intrinsic source in the character of life of this saint. The origin of “St. Valentine’s Day” – a day made even more popular by greeting card companies, florists, and chocolatiers – is not entirely clear, but it seems to have taken root in England, a cold country where the signs of spring are eagerly anticipated. As far back as Chaucer it was commonly observed that birds began to pair and mate around the feast of St. Valentine, that is, from the middle of February.
In any case, the Valentine who name is oddly commemorated was apparently a Christian priest in Rome who assisted martyrs during the persecution under Emperor Claudius II. He was eventually arrested and sent before the prefect of Rome. When he refused to renounce his faith he was beaten and beheaded.
Thus, by offering his heart, he proved himself a true devotee of the God of Love.
Ideas for Church
While this is a secular holiday, children enjoy creating and receiving valentines. This can become a wonderful service project for children of all ages. Valentines can be made for the sick or homebound, those in long term care facilities, the women and men serving in the armed forces, etc. Ministry-to-Children has lots of ideas for Valentine lessons and crafts.
For older children, learn how to use a concordance and look up passages of scripture with the word “love” in them, using them as the text of the valentine. Gather red and white construction paper, glitter, markers, stickers, and paper doilies (this time of year you can find them in gold, silver, red and white in many stationary stores). Finding old scraps of lace and ribbon can be fun too.
Be creative . . . let the glitter and hearts abound in your classroom!
Sharon Ely Pearson is a 30+ year Christian formation veteran, currently serving as an editor and the Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated. Wife, mother, grandmother, and author, she enjoys connecting people with each other and the resources they need for growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus.