“Dad, how come we can eat some eggs and other eggs have baby chickens in them?”
…and my brilliant answer to that question:
“Married chickens have baby chickens. If the chicken isn’t married, it has eggs we can eat.”
In The Parlement of Foules, Geoffrey Chaucer writes:
For this was on seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,
Of every kinde, that men thenke may;
And that so huge a noyse gan they make,
That erthe and see, and tree, and every lake
So ful was, that unnethe was ther space
For me to stonde, so ful was al the place.
Isn’t that beautiful?
I guess I wasn’t so far off. Who knew that the romantic pursuits of our feathery friends would have SO much bearing on the interaction of lovers in the 21st century?
Valentine’s Day was first recognized as a day to commemorate martyrs of the third century. They called these martyrs “Valentines.” In the 14th century, Chaucer suggested we observe the mating habits of birds and make them our own. If the birds are doing it…and the bees are doing it…so should we. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Hallmark and ProFlowers suggested we send people cards that involved no thought whatsoever on the part of the lover, waning flowers in pretty vases, and mysterious chocolate candies in satin-covered, heart-shaped boxes in order to profess something to our lovers we should probably profess every day of our lives.
On a side note: Thank you ProFlowers for reminding me every day—if not twice a day—to send flowers to the girl who broke my heart shortly after Valentine’s Day last year…Thank you! OK…so she didn’t break my heart necessarily…but I still don’t need to be reminded every day for a month how I once loved and lost.
What was once a day to honor those who died because they adamantly confessed their faith in Jesus has literally become a mockery where we imitate birds and initiate our spring mating practices by sending a card, a dozen roses, and a heart-shaped box of chocolates to our prospective chickens.
Love was the true motivation of these martyrs who are supposed to be memorialized on this holiday. These martyrs loved sacrificially in the name of Christ, and Valentine’s Day should still commemorate how their sacrifice helped spread the love of Christ throughout the world.
I’m not suggesting giving up Valentine’s Day as a day to love those who mean the most to us. This is just my suggestion…take it as advice from someone who failed miserably in this area and has learned a little from his mistakes:
Tomorrow, instead of following the example of a chicken or a barn swallow, follow the example of these “Valentines” who gave their life so that the world may know true LOVE—the love of Jesus Christ. Give sacrificially to your lover. If she desires quality time and you have difficulty sitting down for more than five seconds…sit down with her for more than five seconds. If he loves it when the house is clean but you’re no June Cleaver…clean the house for him. If she’s into gifts…put a little effort into the gift you’re giving. Sacrifice something for the sake of your love…be a martyr…be a Valentine.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”