Thanks to WikiPedia for the following introduction:
February 14 is celebrated as St Valentine’s Day in various Christian denominations; it has, for example, the rank of ‘commemoration’ in the calendar of saints in the Anglican Communion. In addition, the feast day of Saint Valentine is also given in the calendar of saints of the Lutheran Church. However, in the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feast day of Saint Valentine on February 14 was removed from the General Roman Calendar and relegated to particular (local or even national) calendars for the following reason: “Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14.”
Seems there may have been several St. Valentines, at least one of whom was of some low character. The Church, choosing safe over sorry, has given St. Valentine, all three of him, the boot. Not damaging in any way the onslaught of red-colored confections and fru-fru parked in the center aisles of better discount, drug and department stores near you.
Once again, we Christians have managed to turn what was once a religious feast day into a secular selling opportunity. In the process, we routinely substitute grasping for short-term pleasure for seeking lasting happiness. Marketing types endeavor to raise everyone’s expectations, and we approach February 14th with credit cards extended, to ward off any hint of mediocrity or penury in outward displays of monetized affection we tend not to duplicate for another 365 days. Your basic flash in the pan.
Whether it’s on the calendar or not, Valentine’s Day is, in my opinion, another opportunity to affirm for your spouse that you will love him or her forever, that you are glad you married him or her, and that you would happily marry him or her again on most days.
Heading toward our 38th anniversary, Nancy and I don’t go overboard in celebrating most holidays. We are staring retirement in the face, and big displays of what is fairly obvious anyway only serve to put the day when we no longer have to make the daily trudge that much farther away. Christmas and Easter are still big, but Labor Day–not so much.
On most holidays, a bunch of roses from Costco is received as nicely as an FTD delivery and at a third of the price. A plate of salmon on Friday night is virtually indistinguishable from one on Thursday night when we’re busy anyway. Any intra-marital competition is limited to who can find the funnier card. With joint bank accounts, ostentatious gift-giving is a little silly anyway. “Here’s your fabulous gift, darling, and here’s the bill!! Happy Valentine’s Day!”
My new favorite cliche is, “The best things in life aren’t things.” If you want to talk about gifts that keep on giving, talk about the spouse who keeps The Four Horsemen out of your marriage. The spouse who offers to get up early with the kids while you sleep in on a Saturday. The spouse who shows your son how to ride a two-wheeler and your daughter how to bait a hook. The spouse who does so many things around the house without being asked, or expecting to be thanked. The spouse who cleaved to you to create a family, with whom you can be Nanny and PopPop, watching your kids building families of their own, and who will join with you again to envision the families those grandchildren will have someday. All linked inexorably to two people–in our case, a couple of old hippies who met by accident and quickly sensed a connection that will ultimately have led to generations of descendants. Many of whom will have myopia and teenage acne.
In accordance with God’s will.
Though it saddens me to see how a number of my bad qualities have passed on to my children, and are likely to get passed along again, it is a gift to see them working to be effective parents and good wives, as all three of ours are girls. They all married well, and that, too, is a gift from God. These gifts–gifts of serenity, gifts of progeny, gifts of patience and affection and comfort–these are the gifts that experienced Valentine’s Day celebrants look for.
The fru-fru and chocolates can stay right where they are.