This is an important holiday season for all of us. The concept of holidays often originated in connection with religious observances. The word holiday comes from an Old English word meaning holy day. The purpose of the holiday was typically to allow persons to tend to religious duties associated with their particular faith tradition.
Obviously, the word holiday is used to describe many days that are recognized as special in the traditions of a particular society or culture. When I lived in London, I noticed that Europeans don’t go on vacations but rather they go on holiday. As people of faith we don’t begrudge the expanding use of the word holiday and celebrate the fact that we and others have time off for relaxation and recreation.
However, it might be good for us as Christians to recall and reclaim the upcoming holiday season as a holy (day) season. Often, we think of this holiday season as beginning with Thanksgiving Day which is a national holiday, but the very concept of thanksgiving is so integral to all faith traditions that we are glad to incorporate it into our holy days.
How might we renew/reclaim the rest of our holy days known as Advent and Christmas? Going on a harangue about the commercialism of Christmas, etc., doesn’t seem predictable and not particularly helpful. To reclaim the spiritual nature of these holy days we might:
• Remember the gift that gives us cause to celebrate. The birth of Jesus is a gift to the world.
• Teach our children and grandchildren about this gift. Yes, give them their toys but they need to know about Jesus’ birth as the cause for all this celebration and gift giving.
• Commit to attend worship and other special activities at the church throughout these holy days so that we understand not just the gift that is Jesus but the gifts of music and fellowship.
• Commit ourselves to more time in prayer and devotion. It will help with this hectic time of year.
• Be generous with yourselves, your families, your neighbors, and yes, your church. These holy days are a season of gratitude upon gratitude.
In Christ, Denny Silk, Pastor