Youth ministry programs

Valentines Love Study

Ask the youth the following questions at the start of the activity.

1. True or False: In Italy unmarried women get up early on Valentine's Day and stand by the window watching for a man to pass. They believe the first man they see or someone who looks like the first man they see will marry them in a year.

2. True or False: In Denmark a woman sends a "joking letter" with a rhyme but does not sign her name. In place of a signature she writes a dot for each letter of her name. If a man guesses correctly, she gives him an Easter egg on Easter.

3. True or False: St. Valentine lived around 250 AD and was reportedly executed on February 14, 269.

4. True or False: St. Valentine got into trouble for secretly marrying people when it was against the law to marry in Rome. The emperor thought single men made better soldiers.

5. True or False: St. Valentine got into trouble because he refused to worship Roman gods. He was close to the children of the church and they missed him. They wrote loving notes to him and tossed them between the bars of his prison. This started the idea of giving cards at Valentines Day.

6. True or False: Early English writers like Chaucer stated that deer sought their mates on February 14th. For this reason February 14th became a day for lovers.

7. True or False: The first known love letter associated with Valentine's Day was sent by a husband to his wife while he was imprisoned in the famous Tower of London. The date of the letter was February 14, 1416.

8. True or False: English custom in the 1700's had women, who wished to know the names of their future husbands, writing the names of various men on paper, rolling these names into a ball of clay and dropping them into the water. The first paper that rose to the top had on it the name of her future husband.

9. True or False: Unmarried women pinned five leaves to their pillows on Valentine's Day eve. When they fell asleep, they saw their future husbands in their dreams.

10. True or False: The first commercial Valentine's Day cards were famous love poems written on cards and were issued beginning in the 1890's.

The answers to the quiz are as follows:

Statement one is true. Share with youth that this custom is also existent in parts of England, as well as Italy.

Statement two is false. The custom does exist in Denmark, but it is the man, not the woman, who sends the gaekkebrev or "joking letter". If the woman guesses his identity, he gives her the Easter egg.

Statement three is true.

Statement four is true.

Statement five is true.

Statement six is false. Chaucer refers to birds, not deer, pairing off on February 14th.

Statement seven is true. The author was a captured Frenchman by the name of Charles, Duke of York.

Statement eight is true.

Statement nine is true. The five leaves were pinned as follows: one leaf in each corner and one in the center. The custom was common in the 1700s.

Statement ten is false. The first commercial cards were published in the 1890s. They had pictures of children or lovely gardens on the front and nothing on the inside, thus leaving space for personal messages.

Note that this love is not that of one person for a special love object. The Greeks had a word for that type of love and it was "eros". Agape love, in contrast, is the love God asks us to have for one another, love equally for all. It is the same love God has for humans and, when we demonstrate it, everyone will know we are the people of God. There is one more type of love referenced in the Bible. The Greek word for this love is "philio". It is the love of friendship, brotherly/ sisterly love. Think of the nickname for the city of Philadelphia . . . the city of brotherly love. Brotherly love is referenced in 2 Peter 1:5-8, which reads...

"For this reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self control; to your self control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; to your godliness add brotherly affection; and to brotherly affection add love. These are the qualities you need. . . ."

Take time to discuss each of the above needed qualities. Note that the list does not end with godliness. To godliness, the Christian needs to add brotherly affection and love.

Then show the youth the below diagram:

In the midst of these three types of love is the phrase, "I do". This is the action to be taken by the heart of each worshipper. Worship includes the call for each individual to respond afirmatively to God. Each person needs to say "I do" to God's Spirit, who wishes to become a part of our lives. When we ask God's Spirit to all our hearts, God's agape love, which enhances all other loves, follows. But there is yet another type of love. Matthew 25:31-40 describes the scene at the end of time, when the Son of Man comes to earth as king. He identifies a group of believers as those who will inherit the kingdom prepared for them. Then He identifies why they have been chosen. They fed the hungry, received strangers into their homes, clothed those who needed clothes, and visited the sick. The word "love" is not used in this passage of scripture, but are these not acts of love?

Question: Who are the people that you (youth members) know that are in need? The child picked on in school needs a youth member to befriend him. The person sharing their family problems needs, not only a listener, but a friend to insist that that person seek professional help. Perhaps a youth member can accompany him or her to a school teacher, guidance counselor, or minister to request help. The pregnant friend may beneifit from a youth willing to accompany her to the school nurse to ask for guidance. The foster child, feeling unsure whether his or her home is once again temporary, needs a friend who remains a friend, even if the foster child becomes upset and uncommunicative due to reemerging problems. The child with an alcohol or drug problem does not need a silent friend, who looks the other way, but rather a friend to confront him and insist that he get help. This is not an easy task, but it is a necessary one. Prayers for the needy are nice, but Matthew 26 tells us that God expects those filled with His love to assist others actively.

More details on this Valentines can be found in the book Not the Same Old, Done it Before Youth Meetings, which includes 355 pages of activities for Christian youth groups including:

  • Valentines - Day of Love
  • Study of Angels for Teens
  • Revelation for Teens
  • Walking on Water
  • Let's Ask God"
  • and much, much more

    For reviews and purchase, please click: Not the Same Old Done -it-before Youth Meetings

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