Today is a feast, a gift and remembrance, of an occasion I have yet see Hallmark really nail with one of its watercolored limericks: there once was a man so in love with God that he was beheaded for performing marriages in opposition to war. In defense of hallmark, that is a very hard picture to paint with water colors… In the third century, Emperor Claudius had declared marriage illegal in order to encourage more young men to volunteer to be soldiers. Valentine, a celibate priest, opposed both the aggressive violence of the empire as well as the notion that the state alone held the reins of marriage. …
In contrast to American Christmas traditions, for Christians, Advent is a season of repentance, or paring down, making room. It might seem like a bummer to have to dial back when all of the holiday festivities are just winding up. But there is a rhythm to this madness that has made Advent my favorite times of year and it has a lot to do with the color pink.