THE ESSENCE OF VALENTINE DAY The 14th day of February of every year is being celebrated as Valentine Day worldwide

in honour of St.Valentine, a Catholic Priest who was an epitome of love and sacrifice during his sojourn here on earth. The question popping up now is what is the essence of this day? It is a day set aside to celebrate love. God loved the world so much that He gave his only son . this is a popular quote from the Holy Bible (John 3:16), but the concept of love is still widely misunderstood, hence abused. Love can be defined in this context as to care very much about someone, while from the heavenly point of view, God is love. It is the very nature of God. Most youths confused lust with love. Lust is the strong feeling of wanting to have sex, especially when love is not involved. A relationship based on lust do results in pre-marital sex and heartbreaks. Though Valentine Day is a day meant to celebrate love, it is pertinent to note that love is to be shown throughout one s life. What then is love? Love is:          Patient Kind Not jealous Not rude Not selfish Does not become angry easily Does not remember wrongs done against it Ready to forgive Always trusting.

The above characteristics of love are enumerated in the Holy Bible. (1 Corinthians 13) The Holy Spirit-inspired love when fully expressed in our relationship with our dates, siblings, parents, colleagues, neighbours, spouses will make it to sail on

smoothly, not minding the tempest that will surely arises as the relationship goes on. The mind-boggling question is how a Christian youth should celebrate Valentine day since it is now typified as a day that youths get involved in pre-marital sex.As mentioned earlier, this day is in honour of St. Valentine, a Christian. Hence, it has a Christian origin. As a Christian youth, you can take your date out for an outing (do remember that your relationship is based on God s kind of love, not lust);buy gifts for your loved ones(parents,siblings,family relatives, church members,friends,colleagues,neighbours);exchange visits; and most especially show love to the less-privileged, the orphans, and the elderly. Love is all about care, sacrifice, affection, and putting smile on someone s face. So, let us show love in this season of love.

Ovie Uk Effurun, Delta State. Nigeria. blackgenx@yahoo.co.uk.

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