For many of us, we just think of Valentine’s as a Hallmark, money-grabbing, sugar-filled holiday. And it has been rather commercialized. But that’s not how it started — and there is a really beautiful meaning in this holiday that you might not be aware of.
St. Valentine was a real person who became the patron saint of love. How did he manage that? Because he made a practice of paying for the dowries of poor girls in his village who couldn’t otherwise marry. A dowry, as you might recall, was a payment made by the bride’s family to the groom upon his marrying her. This made rich girls with large dowry’s more appealing targets for marriage, and many girls who were poor, with no dowry, had much more limited prospects. St. Valentine paid those dowries himself, helping poor girls find matches that would benefit them.
What if we saw Valentines as a time to bestow on others a gift of love? Perhaps you can surprise someone with the means to buy valentines for their class who wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Maybe you surprise a neighbor with a plate of homemade cookies to just lift their spirits, or gift a busy parent with a grubhub card so they don’t have to make a meal.
As for why we take the time to recognize our love for our beloved on Valentine’s day? That is more about the ritual of taking time out to say, you are someone special to me, you matter, our love matters, LOVE matters. As you might guess, I have always loved this holiday. I used to host a tea party for my boys and their friends (girls from school or church) to just bring a little elegance to our lives. It is an occasion to pull out the stops. A dinner with candlelight and the good china. Light candles in your bedroom that night, or draw a bath for your sweetheart. Even if you are alone, it is a day to love on yourself. Remember someone who has lost someone dear and send them a card, text, or maybe even flowers! Take time to stop and reflect on all the “loves” in your life, and take time to love yourself as well.