Today is Valentine’s Day!!! We give gifts of chocolate and flowers. We make cards and decorations in the shape of hearts. Images of cupid shooting his arrows of love come to mind.
Valentine’s Day is so much more than hearts, and candies, gifts and romantic encounters.
Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, married love. It is also a day to remember a man who laid down his life for the sake of marriage.
While there is some speculation and legend surrounding the history of our modern Valentine’s Day. We do know that Valentine was a priest who was martyred in 269 AD. He ministered during the reign of an emperor named Claudius The Second who persecuted Christians. This emperor decided single men would make better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage. Valentine, compelled by the Holy Spirit and obedience to God’s Word, did not follow the emperors decree, but instead, began to perform wedding ceremonies in secret. When these secret ceremonies were found out, Valentine was beaten, stoned, and put to death by beheading.
Wow…. We don’t normally hear this story. We know there is some history, some romantic theme surrounding Saint Valentine, but martyrdom? Martyrdom for the sake of marriage? This is serious history. Sobering history. I don’t believe that the history of the times of Saint Valentine will repeats itself exactly….. But the fight for marriage, Godly marriages, Biblical marriages, still rages on and always will. When a man and women unite together in marriage, they become one flesh, a beautiful, powerful picture of Christ and His love for the church. Satan does whatever he can to destroy marriage as God intends it to be!
Valentine’s Day can remind us that we need to stay surrendered to God’s Word and His will even in the face of opposition. Even to the point of death. I am inspired by this man who gave up his life for the most sacred covenant made between human beings. I am grateful to be able to honor Valentine’s sacrifice, honor his life, and honor married love every year on February 14th!
For over 20 years I’ve been participating in a Valentine’s Day tradition started by my father. It’s super fun, light-hearted, and meaningful. We call it the “Valentines Hunt.” I looked forward to this tradition every year growing up. When Josiah became a toddler, Eric and I continued the tradition with our family.
Here’s what we do. We take 10-12 Valentine’s Day cards and create a clue hunt with them. We’ll start out by giving the kids a card with a Bible verse on it. They have to look up (or for little ones, we read to them) a Bible verse that has a clue leading to the next card. These hunts could revolve around scriptures of a particular theme such as; love, joy, food, music, etc..or they could come from a particular book of the Bible. For example, this year all of our verses came from Proverbs.
The first clue was Proverbs 1:8-9, “My son, hear the instruction of your Father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck. ” Our kids began running to different locations based upon where they thought the next clue would be located from clues written in that scripture. Emmy guessed it right away and found the next card located in my bedroom closet where all of my necklaces and hair “ornaments” are hanging up.
This next card contained Proverbs 3:24, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid, when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” Judah immediately knew the next clue card would be located in a bed, and sure enough, he found it in his bed.
Proverbs 12:10 led our children to our garden shed where food for our animals is stored.
Proverbs 18:20-21 a really quick find, led our children to our fruit basket.
Proverbs 24:13-14 led our children to our honey container.
Proverbs 11:1 led them to the kitchen scale tucked away in a drawer.
Proverbs 10:26 led to toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Proverbs 19:24 led our children to a stack of bowls.
Proverbs 5:15 led them to our laundry room sink.
And finally, the last clue, Proverbs 17:6 led our children to Gramma and Papa’s house down the road where their Valentine treats awaited them. This year, each child received a chocolate sucker from Sunny Jims Candy, clothing, and a pack of gum. Last year each child got a $5 dollar bill and some candy.
I create a new hunt, with new verses and hiding locations each year. It takes about 30 minutes to create these hunts. On each card I write the verse reference that will lead to the next clue card, and I also write down where that card needs to be hid (for example, I wrote fruit basket at the bottom of the card that needed to be put in the fruit basket.) I also number my cards in order to avoid confusion if one is found out of order in the hunt.
Why do we do this? Because It’s fun! It’s something to look forward to, AND it teaches our children the Word of God.
God tell us “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9.
This Valentine’s Hunt is another way we can incorporate the goodness of God’s word into our lives and into our family!
I encourage you to start your own Valentine’s Day Hunts! Show your children that God’s Word is fun, good, AND rewarding!
Check out this Adventures in Odyssey episode all about Saint Valentine. It’s called “The Last ‘I Do.'”