Summary: To celebrate Valentine’s Day or not is not important. But as Christians, we should know the kinds of LOVE that God wants us to have, something that is more than just Valentine's Day kind of love:

Today many people around the world celebrate Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine. Here are three facts about Valentine's Day:

• One hundred forty-four million greeting cards are sent every year.

• Americans spent $20.7 billion in 2019 on Valentine's Day.

• 7 in 10 people in America celebrate Valentine's Day.

Many mysteries are surrounding the origins of Valentine's Day. People debate when exactly it started and who it began with. The most common origin story is the legend of St. Valentine. He is believed to have been a priest during the third century in Rome. After Emperor Claudius II declared single men made better soldiers, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine went behind Emperor Claudius' law and performed marriages in secret. When this was discovered, Claudius had him put to death. Other stories suggested that Valentine helped Christians to escape Roman prisons. Valentine was imprisoned in this story when he sent the first valentine's letter to a young lady. It is believed he sent it to his jailor's daughter. Before his death, it is thought he wrote her another letter and signed it, "From your Valentine." By the time the middle ages came around, St. Valentine had become a famous saint. Although we do not know if these stories are true, St. Valentine is still viewed as a romantic saint who helped to start Valentine's Day.

Should Christians celebrate Valentine's Day? Some say we shouldn't celebrate it. Here are their reasons: 1) They believe Valentine's Day has pagan roots. It replaced the celebration of Lupercalia, which is a yearly pagan celebration that took place on February 15th. This celebration involved ritual animal sacrifice and many other scandalous practices. The purpose of Lupercalia was for women to have a year of fertility. 2) They believe the festival has its roots in lust, eroticism, and fertility rather than in love. We are all familiar with Cupid, the young boy who holds his bow and shoots heart-shaped allows. He is an icon of romance and cuteness, but others who know the history are aware that he represents the ancient Roman god of desire and erotic love. 3) It's too commercialized. Not everyone can afford roses, boxes of chocolates, or costly gifts. Many people believe they have to purchase expensive gifts to express their love when Christians know that it's the underlying attitude that matters more.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day or not is not important. But as Christians, I believe we should know the kinds of LOVE that God wants us to have, something that is more than just Valentine's Day kind of love:

1. Eros.

This is the Greek word for romantic, sexual love, or passionate love. We get the word "erotic" from this word. Eros love is an essential component between man and woman, leading to the holy marital union, a strong and lasting bond of bonds and trust. This is the kind of love that the Book of Song of Songs depicts. Unfortunately, the world misunderstands and misuses Eros's love just as an expression of lust. Eros does not appear in the biblical text, so we will not spend time discussing it in this sermon.

2. Storge.

The second kind of love we need to understand is storge. It is the love and affection that naturally occurs between parents and children and between siblings. It also exists between husbands and wives in a good marriage. It occurs in Romans 12:10 in the word philostorgos; a compound word made up of Philos (the noun form of phileo) and storge. Romans 12:10 is a significant verse, directing us to be very loving and kind to each other. Romans 12:10 (Expanded translation) "As to your brotherly love, let there be deep friendship and family-affection toward one another."

3. Agape.

The third love that we have to have refers to the love of God. Agape is the very nature of God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-12,16). This kind of love is based on the character of God, not on our feelings. It is called a sacrificial-unconditional and unchanging love. People today are accustomed to thinking of love as a feeling of liking someone or something, but that is not necessarily the case with agape love. Agape is love shown by action. God so "loved the world" (agape) that He gave His only son (John 3:16). It was unpleasant for God to do that, but He did because of His love. Christ so loved (agape) that He gave His life. He did not want to die, but He loved us, so He did what the Father required. A mother who loves her sick baby will stay up all night long to care for her baby. It is not something that she likes, but she wants to do it because of her agape love for her baby.

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