Roses Are Red, Violets are Blue… Valentine’s Day is Here, What Are We To Do?

The Christmas tinsel and mince pies were barely off the grocery store shelves when we started seeing red … red hearts, red chocolates, red roses – red being the colour of romance after all. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, no good marketer would miss the next big commercial opportunity to reach susceptible consumers.

As a Christian, is there a right or a wrong way to think about this “day of love”, with its somewhat murky historical origin? Probably not. Although we could use it as an opportunity to examine our hearts, according to what could be subtle – or even strong – views that emerge around the 14th of February. Here are three different perspectives that might ring true, along with some gospel-centred responses to reflect on.

The Sceptic

You’ll know you’re a sceptic if the very thought of Valentine’s Day elicits a cringe and an eyeball roll. As you consider what you believe to be nothing other than superficial mush dunked in red roses, with a sprinkling of hearts. You avoid all the paraphernalia, and don’t anticipate any gifts; leaving your loved one completely off the hook from any pressure to morph into the “quintessential Valentine”.

However, what if this year you decide that instead of exerting all your energy on avoiding, despising or pitying the Valentine’s brigade, you lift your eyes above the secular paint brush? What if you peel back the layers to see a day that calls us to celebrate love? God’s word says in 1 Peter 4:8, Above all love each other deeply,” and in Colossians 3:14, And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Therefore, we are to love as the highest calling. How about repurposing this day of love to celebrate the lavish love that Christ has adorned us with? How can we can give that love freely to others? This could be particularly true of how we treat our own Valentines, who might appreciate the cards and candies more than we might think they do.

This year, those of us who are cynics could try to put off a critical heart and put on a tradition. It could be a day to rejoice in who we are. Each of us, betrothed to God (2 Corinthians 11:2), his bride. The call is to be ready and waiting (Revelation 19:7). Therefore, let us live this day in anticipation of our marriage to the Lord.

What if you decided to lift your eyes above the secular paint brush and peel back the layers to see a day that calls us to celebrate love.

The Soppy

Do you know deep down that you’re the ideal customer Hallmark had in mind when they started spinning sweet moments? Soppy romantics tend to spend a lot of time on Pinterest around this time of the year. They scan the cutest crafts to execute for their Valentines, imagining how their loved ones are preparing in exactly the same way for their big surprise. Maybe they’re going to serve up heart-shaped crumpets, or will it be a candlelit picnic? Who knows, perhaps this year there’ll be a hot air balloon trip across the Serengeti!

If you see yourself as a “soppy”, it might be that Valentine’s Day stirs up the temptation to compare and covet. Your loved one may tend to be a more pragmatic soul. It’s easy to buy into the notion that romance equates to love, or that affection can be bought or derived from expensive spoils. As you start to see cupids lining the shopping aisles, it might be worth reminding yourself that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). He wants to see you dissatisfied with your circumstances. While you may or may not be on the receiving end of Valentine’s treats, our hearts are always prone to want more. They can deceive us and make us feel as though we’re not being cherished in the way that we “deserve”. This leads to resentment and envy.

However, we are to remember “When [people] measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding [or ‘wisdom’]” (2 Corinthians 10:12) and “The heart is deceitful above all things…” (Jeremiah 17:9).

This Valentine’s day, take some time to reflect on what emotions are being stirred up inside you. If need be, lead your heart away from comparison and anger and towards God. Thank him for the very good gifts he has given you in your life; his own Son being the most cherished gift of all.

Valentine’s Day stirs up the temptation to compare and covet

The Single

Some who cringe at the thought of Valentine’s Day are lonely — and battle with the reminder of their singleness. This includes those who are divorced or widowed. In addition it could include people who are unmarried or not in a relationship. These kinds of celebrations can increase feelings of being ostracised and not belonging. It can add an extra burden to an already tough struggle.

If you are single this Valentine’s Day and find that the celebration simply highlights your lack, why not devote time to pray. You can recommit to fight for joy and contentment. The truth is that whether single or married it is the gospel that completes our joy. “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11).

For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Valentine’s Day can also be a call to those who are not single to love their single friends well. Ask them how they are doing, and commit to praying for them for contentment. And practically, make a special effort to include them in social events around this time of year. Remind them that they are loved and a special part of your life.

Consider this day of love

Which camp do you fall into this Valentine’s Day? As Christians, let’s ask God to be at work in our hearts. God will draw us ever deeper into the greatest love story of all time.