Much of what we know about Saint Valentine has been lost to story and legend. We know he was a priest who went about Rome marrying Christian couples when that sort of thing was frowned upon by the leadership at the time. He was jailed and often let out of his cell to come debate religion with Emperor Claudius at parties. He made the mistake of trying to convert the emperor, who then ordered Valentine beaten to death. When he refused to die, Claudius ordered Valentine to be beheaded.
Legend says there was a guard who asked Valentine to pray for his daughter's blindness. Valentine did, and the girl's sight was restored. Valentine wrote a note to the girl and signed it, "From Your Valentine."
What is the most romantic song you've heard?
The most romantic movie?
The most romantic date?
Is there a couple in your church who has been married for a long time...a really, really long time...50 years or more? Invite one of these couples to your meeting and have the students ask them questions.
Is Valentine's Day (for the most part) a holiday for women? Should it be? Why does it seem as if there are lines of men at the florist on Valentine's Day? What is the guy equivalent of flowers for girls?
How did you parents get together? What is the story of their proposal/engagement?
What does it mean to have a heart for Jesus? Can you give your heart to someone else and still have a heart for Jesus? What would you do if your boyfriend/girlfriend gave you a Christian Valentine card?
Did you give out the small Valentine cards in your class at school? Is there one year in particular you remember?
What is love?
Purchase a few boxes of candy hearts. (The colored ones with two-word phrases.) Ask your group to create the top 10 best heart messages, then ask students to create the Top 10 Breakup Heart messages or Top 10 funniest messages.Note to Youth Leaders:
See if you can get your hands a few boxes of Do-it-Yourself kid Valentines before the meeting. If that isn't possible, cut paper hearts. You should have enough so each student has four.
There are four different words in Scripture that mean love: Eros
is passionate love; Philleo
is brotherly love; Storge
is compassion; Agape
is the unconditional love Jesus spoke about.
Write each of these on one of the Valentines (or paper hearts), then write the name or initials of someone you know who embodies this kind of love. (Skip Eros
if it's embarrassing.)
Read the story of Peter and Jesus in John 21
. In the Greek translation, Jesus essentially asked Peter "Do you agape me?" Peter answered with Philla. Jesus again asked if Peter Agaped Him , and Peter answered a second time with Philla. The third time, Jesus said Philla and Peter answered the same.