Next week is Valentine’s Day, named for a Christian martyr from the third century. Almost nothing is known about this man except that he was killed for his faith on February 14th, A.D. 269 and buried in Rome. The feast of St. Valentine was first established in A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I.

An ancient story, although possibly legendary, describes Saint Valentinus as a priest in Rome jailed during the rule of Emperor Claudius II, “the Cruel.” His jailer put Valentinus to the test by bringing his blind daughter to him. Valentinus miraculously restored her sight and the jailer and his entire household were baptized. Claudius demanded that Valentinus either renounce his faith or be beaten to death with clubs. Valentinus refused. But the beating failed to kill him so he was beheaded instead.

It seems that the feast of St. Valentine first became associated with romantic love during the time of the English writer Geoffrey Chaucer in the 1300s. The present customs of giving flowers, sweets, and “valentines” all developed during the last 200 years.

On Valentine’s Day people of all ages remember those they love. Christians also ought to think of the One whose love and gifts are the greatest and best possible. God sends us gifts not once a year, but every day. He gives many blessings for the simple reason that he loves us. And God didn’t just say he loves us with flowers, candy, or a card. He said it with his Son, Jesus Christ. “This is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Here are some Valentine’s Day ‘beatitudes’—for those on a first date or married fifty years.

BLESSED are they who love their mate more than any other person in the world and joyfully fulfill their vows of fidelity and respect for one another.

BLESSED are those mates who forgive each other and make their home a place of rest.

BLESSED are the husband and wife who continue to be affectionate, considerate and loving years after the wedding bells have ceased ringing.

BLESSED are the husband and wife who are as polite and courteous to one another as they are to their friends.

BLESSED are the husband and wife who faithfully attend the local church and together work for the Lord.

BLESSED are the husband and wife who can work through problems knowing that each has in mind the best interests of the other.

BLESSED is the couple who understands that money is on loan from God to fulfill His purposes.

BLESSED are the husband and wife who humbly dedicate their lives and home to Christ by loving all who enter.