I’m grateful for holidays. It occurred to me this week that I hadn’t seen my sons for a while. We’ve all been busy and only talking on the phone and in electronic messages. And if Thanksgiving wasn’t coming up this weekend, how much longer would it be until we were face to face, close enough to hug? That’s when I started feeling thankful to whoever set up holidays.
It amazes me when I stop to think of the power that holidays have to bring people together when schedules and distance would otherwise keep them apart. I’m surprised that holidays are still sacred in a society that puts so much of a priority on productivity and busyness.
Look how the governments of countries all over the world lock certain holidays into their calendars, and how businesses acknowledge holidays by granting days off. You could even say that some employees are “forced” to take a holiday, and even if you want to work, the company declares it such a special day that it is willing to pay you one-and-a-half of your regular earnings. I don’t think we should take it for granted that CEO’s pay us for a day of unproductive kicking-back, and not once, but several times a year.
How nice that countries unite around a holiday! If Alberta declared Thanksgiving a holiday, but Saskatchewan didn’t, it wouldn’t be so easy to go visit your Saskatchewan relatives on Thanksgiving, and look at what you would miss. Oh, I know there are lots of sneers these days about how miserable family gatherings can be—there seem to be more and more movies springing up that try to convince us that holidays are something to dread and tolerate. But go through your photo collections and see how many of the scenes were taken during a holiday gathering, and how many of those bring a smile to your lips and your heart.
Holidays are celebrated for various reasons, and even if we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them and incorporating the origins into the celebration, they serve as yearly cues to adjust our near-sightedness. We have an opportunity to take a step back from the endless tasks that seem so important in the small picture, and refocus on things worth remembering. Re-celebrating a country’s hard-won victory in obtaining independence, remembering national heroes, offering a tribute to the fathers of our faith, rejoicing in the beginning of a new calendar year, honouring families and relatives, and showing our gratitude to God—all these invigorate our outlook on life and help order our priorities.
Whose idea was it to have holidays, anyway? Local and national governments establish specific holidays for their unique population, but the idea of a holiday seems to have been around ever since the Lord included days of celebration, dancing, feasting and rest for His people in his set of laws. Yes, laws, not suggestions! “Thou shalt take the day off and have a good time.” This too would be amazing to some people, because the popular view of God is probably one of a judge. But what if people stopped and considered that this particular judge required them to regularly take time to have fun and reconnect with the most important people in your life? What a revelation that would be of the true nature of God.
Posted by Ramona