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Derek and his sister, Lauren, strolled into All-Mart in search of the perfect Valentine’s cards for their classmates. Derek hoped to find some cool Spiderman or Incredible Hulk Valentines.

“I can’t wait to find the perfect Valentines!” he bragged to his sister. “Mine are gonna be the best in the class!”    

When they finally reached the card section of the candy aisle, Derek was disappointed. The only Valentines left showed princesses and Tinkerbell, with messages such as “Always mine, Valentine!” and “Let’s be friends forever!”

“Oooh, these are great!” squealed Lauren, grabbing several boxes.

Derek felt sick to his stomach. “Yuck! What’s with all the mushy stuff?! Why in the world do we celebrate Valentine’s Day anyhow?”

Have you ever wondered, like Derek, why we celebrate Valentine’s Day? Why do we pass out “mushy” Valentine cards and eat lots of heart-shaped candy and cupcakes?

Let’s find out where this holiday came from.

Legends of Saint Valentine

Who was Saint Valentine? No one knows the exact story, but there are a couple of cool legends about this historic hero. (A legend is a story about a person in history that is partly true and partly made up.) Here are two popular legends about this mysterious Mr. Valentine.

Secret Ceremonies

Saint Valentine was a priest who lived in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. In order to get more men to fight in his army, Claudius II outlawed all marriages. St. Valentine did not think this law was fair, so he secretly performed wedding ceremonies for men and women who wanted to get married.
When the emperor found out about St. Valentine’s secret ceremonies, he threw Valentine into prison. While Valentine was in prison, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. The day before Valentine was to be put to death, he wrote
    a farewell letter to the jailer’s daughter, signing it “from
your Valentine.”  Some people believe this is why we send Valentine cards to our loved ones today.

A Christian Hero

Another legend claims that Emperor Claudius II ordered all people to worship Roman gods and would not let Christians worship Jesus. But St. Valentine was a man of strong faith and did not worship the Roman gods. Because he disobeyed the emperor’s order, he was thrown into prison. Many children were sad that St. Valentine was arrested. They threw flowers and notes to him through his open prison window.
While St. Valentine was in jail, the jailer’s daughter, who was blind, befriended him. She often visited him, and they talked about all kinds of things. The day before he was killed, St. Valentine wrote a goodbye letter to his new friend and signed it “from your Valentine.”

Derek’s Big Idea

Derek was disappointed about not finding the perfect Valentine cards at All-Mart, but he had another idea. Instead of buying cards he bought red construction paper, markers, and glue. When he and Lauren came home from the store, he dashed to his room and shut the door. He worked for hours on the perfect cards for his classmates.
“Derek, it’s time for bed!” his mother called from the stairs.
“OK, Mom, I’m almost finished with my last Valentine!”
The next day at school Derek proudly gave a homemade card to each of his classmates during their Valentine’s Day party. The message inside each card read,
God loves you!
Happy Valentine’s Day from Derek
Everyone was amazed by Derek’s special cards.
“Thanks, Derek. These Valentines are great!” said a friend.
Derek smiled.          He had found the perfect Valentines after all! 

You Can Do It Too

Make homemade Valentine cards like Derek did!
What you’ll need:

  • red, pink, or white construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • glitter, Valentine stickers, etc.
  • markers or crayons

There are tons of ways you can make cards from scratch. The easiest way is to take a sheet of construction paper and fold it in half like a book. Cut out heart shapes to glue on your card, and write a special message inside. Decorate your card with  stickers, glitter, or whatever else you have at home!

A Card You Can Eat!

Try making amazing edible Valentine’s cards to share!
What you’ll need:

  • one box of graham crackers
  • vanilla or chocolate frosting
  • plastic knife
  • tubes of frosting (different colors)
  • small red candies or sprinkles
  • plastic wrap

Take your graham crackers and carefully frost them with vanilla or chocolate frosting. (Make sure to keep your graham crackers whole—don’t break them in half!) Using pink or red frosting tubes, write a short message on your card, such as “God loves you!” “Be mine!” or “You’re Sweet!” Decorate your card with small heart candies or sprinkles. Let the frosting on your Valentine cards dry for a couple of hours, then carefully wrap them in clear or colorful plastic wrap. What a sweet treat!

The Greatest Valentine

Have you ever received an extra-special Valentine card from a best friend, parent, or grandparent? How did it make you feel? Adults and kids alike enjoy getting cards from someone they love. Read this Valentine written especially for you:
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.  (Zephaniah 3:17)

God has written all sorts of Valentines to us, and you can read them any time—just open up your Bible! The greatest Valentine is the love that God has shown us through his Son, Jesus Christ.

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