When you stop to think about it, we celebrate a lot of holidays in America. Just like everywhere else I guess. It seems that people have a deep-seated desire to stop and mark important dates or times and significant or meaningful events. As we enter November and December we are entering what most people call “the holiday season.”
Not that there aren’t others, of course, because there are. But this time of year we’ve packed into less than two months three of our major cultural celebrations and quite a few that aren’t. The “Big Three” are Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Beyond that you’ve got Veterans Day and eight days of Chanukah. Then there’s Kwanzaa and Festivus, two holidays invented to compete with some of the others but haven’t made much headway at this point. (We should probably just surrender to reality and add Black Friday to the list as well!)
Wow – it’s no wonder we’re all pretty worn out by the time New Year’s Day rolls around! I got tired just typing that. But all of this makes me wonder about people in general and Americans in particular. We have all these holidays and most people mark them in one way or another. But how many of us actually take time to celebrate or remember the real purpose for which these holidays were created?
I don’t have any statistics but I’m willing to bet that number is strikingly low. I mean when was the last time you gave thanks for the labor movement in America on Labor Day? I suspect that most Americans are puzzled that we have a day called Labor Day on which most of us don’t labor! Beyond that I’ll bet most folks have no clue as to its real meaning.
It makes me think that maybe we ought to rename some or all of our holidays for just one year. Just to make a point. Why not call them something that reflects what we really do on that day? I know it would upset a lot of people but then again maybe that would be a good thing.
Here’s a few examples right off the top of my head:
- Last Chance to Hit the Beach Day (Labor Day)
- Celebrate Obesity Day or National Gluttony & Game Day (Thanksgiving)
- Eat Crap & Support Your Local Fireworks Company Day (4th of July)
- National Hangover Day (New Years Day)
- Gimme Free Stuff Day or Materialism Rules Day (Christmas)
- Re-gifting Day or Getting What I Really Wanted in the First Place Day (Day after Christmas)
- Is that A Disease Day? (Chanukah)
Okay, so maybe we should just stick with the originals.
My real point – and yes I do have one! – is that maybe, just maybe, we ought to make some effort to remember the reasons these days were set apart in the first place. Most of them are there to remember or remark upon events that were considered to be significant enough to stop everything and take one day a year to ponder them, give thanks for them, and to remember.
All of us would benefit greatly if we just took just a few minutes on some of those days and took stock of where we’re at in regards to the true meaning we’re supposed to be remembering.
In the end you aren’t going to care about whether or not you made room in your belly for one more hot dog or got one more present you won’t remember in a few months. But you might very well regret passing up the chance to make the one life you’ve been given more meaningful and significant.
So enjoy the holiday season everyone! I hope we’ll all take a few minutes out to remember what they’re for and why we celebrate them.
Louie Marsh is pastor of Christ’s Church on the River on the Parker Strip. Visit the website HERE.