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Opinions of Saturday, 11 February 2017

Columnist: Graphic.com.gh

Valentine, celebration of love

The origin of Valentine celebration remains a mystery. Entomologists believe it originated from birds that were seen flying in pairs in mid-February in Europe during the third century.

Anthropologists think it is about an ancient Roman festival of fertility when young men and women meet, get to know more of one another and choose prospective partners.

Catholics believe it is about one of our saints. However, the underlying factor in all the origins of Valentine is love.

Today, Valentine is celebrated almost everywhere in the world. It is very popular, second only to Christmas. Our understanding of true love should guide us to celebrate Valentine the right way.

What is love?

Saint Thomas Aquinas says to love is to do the will of another. Saint Paul says love does not seek her own. Saint John says there is no greater love to die for another, and in another verse he says, ‘This is love, Christ died for you and you must die for one another.’ To die in this context is derived from a Jewish word which means to give strength and hope to someone especially in moments of greatest need without expecting a reward. Love is, therefore, about the sacrifices we make to make others better.

If the true purpose of anything is not known, abuse is inevitable.

This explains why today, with our poor understanding of love, many have narrowed Valentine down to premarital sex, profane songs, indecent dressing, substance abuse, loud and profane music and unrealistic demands such as mobile phones, expensive items and money.

This explains why today, studies show that Valentine is dying. In Ghana for example, many prefer to call Valentine’s day Chocolate day.

Celebrating Valentine

Start with yourself; see the goodness in you as a child of God. Pamper yourself because if you do not love yourself, you can’t love others and no one can love you.

Dress in what makes you feel good and engage in activities you enjoy doing. It could be reading, watching good films or going out with friends. Count your blessings. Celebration of Valentine begins with you and you do not have to be married or in a relationship to celebrate Valentine.

Send gifts you can afford; chocolates, flowers, cards and perfumes. Gifts are signs of love and goodwill because sharing with others is human kindness.

Studies show that people who give feel good and attract generosity. The valuable gifts are those which stay in our memories because of their meaning, but the best gift is the gift of yourself for human development.

Valentine is an opportune time to propose to someone you love.

If you are married, rededicate yourself to your calling into God’s ministry of marriage. Appreciate the sanity and sanctity of marriage and let your marriage shine so that it becomes an agent of evangelisation.

As parents, we must remind ourselves that our children are gifts from God. He makes us caretakers and caregivers who will account for what we do for our children. We must, therefore, nurture our children to be useful to themselves and humanity. Above all, we must put God’s truth in our children, build up their faith in the Lord and lead them to salvation.

We must also remind ourselves that it impossible to be in any social setup like marriage, family or church without offending one another.

See your conflicts as God’s plan to remind you of your own weaknesses and teach you humility, tolerance, perseverance and unconditional love.

God commands you to forgive unconditionally and deep from your heart because it is a precondition to receive from Him. An effective way to forgive others is to keep praying for them.

Celebrate humanity

God, who is love, made us in His image. We are, therefore, love; and without love, we lose our humanity. Celebration of Valentine is, hence, celebration of humanity.

Thus, we must celebrate Valentine as we thank God for the gift of life. Join in the celebration but do it the Saint Valentine way. Happy Valentine.