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Researching the holiday based on love

By Jan Miller Penton

Occasionally I like to do a little research into our holidays and their origins. My dad loved history, and my brothers and I all seem to have inherited an appreciation of and an interest in the past. On several evenings we could be found scouring the old country cemeteries for crumbling headstones of our ancestors.

In A.D. 496 the Feast of Saint Valentine was established by Pope Gelasius in honor off Saint Valentine of Rome. The feast was celebrated on February 14, and became associated with love and romance during the 14th and 15th centuries.

Saint Valentine was imprisoned and eventually martyred because of his role in ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire. Many legends surround Saint Valentine; one claims he healed his jailer’s daughter from blindness and wrote a farewell note to her signed, “Your Valentine” before his execution.

As with all legends the lines between truth and fantasy can blur, but the celebration of Valentine’s Day lives on even today. Sometimes this unofficial holiday can be overlooked, but I’m planning on reviving my efforts to show not only romantic love, but familial, and brotherly love as well. 

In my world words are very important. I enjoy giving and receiving gifts, but perhaps the deepest expression of my innermost thoughts and feelings may come from a special hand written card or letter. The thought and time spent searching for just the right words to convey the special qualities of another is something I treasure.

My candidate lost the presidential election; COVID is still rearing its ugly head, and the free and easy way we communicated prior to the pandemic has virtually  disappeared, for now.

I’ve always been such a hugger, and it has been really hard for me to give up this behavior. But that is partly why I want to celebrate every chance I get; I want to combat those things that I have no control over with positivity, because showing others that I care is one thing that I can do.

I still have a few days to plan my sweet surprises, but not many, so I’ll work my way down my list of recipients and try to get all my loving messages in the mail today. The heart shaped stamps I purchased will add a touch of beauty. This brings back memories of how exciting I’ve always found getting snail mail. Email has its place, but the romance of a card or letter that can be savored and reread any time is a special thing.

A box sits on the shelf of my closet filled with mementos, and I occasionally take each treasured parcel from the past from its place and relive the special memories associated with each one. As we know so well, our lives change sometimes in a moment, but the love we have for those special people both now and in our past grounds us and gives us courage to keep moving forward.

“Do everything in love.”  1 Corinthians 16:14

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