What is a Holiday?

I had to go out yesterday evening and do some shopping for some items I needed. I wasn’t thinking about it being Good Friday, which should not have made a difference. However, I was surprised at how many people were out shopping. It looked more like Christmas than Easter. After walking through the store and feeling disgusted by what I was seeing, I left without purchasing anything. Allow me to explain.

You see, I grew up in a time when most retail stores were closed on most holidays. In fact, many stores were closed EVERY Sunday. I fully expect crowded stores near Christmas, but I wasn’t expecting what I saw yesterday. The crowds and traffic everywhere I looked were ridiculous. Plus, once inside the one store I attempted, it was unsettling to see throngs of people frantically shopping for Easter candy and toys. By the way, as a side note, when did Easter become a time for giving kids a bunch of toys they don’t need? When I was a kid we got candy (usually chocolate bunnies and jelly beans), but no toys. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. Back to the crazed shoppers. The store I visited had 3 aisles of Easter items, and I would guess about 100 people were crammed into those aisles. I saw one woman start down an aisle, stop and say “Oh wow!”, then shake her head and walk away.

This spectacle raised a question in my mind. What is a holiday? According to dictionary.com, a holiday is:

a day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business is suspended in commemoration of some event or in honor of some person.

Read that carefully. “Ordinary business is suspended”. Hmmm…that can’t be right. It seems to me that holiday in the United States has been re-defined. Holiday in this country now seems to be a reason for retail stores to stay open extended hours and have a sale. Americans use holidays as an excuse to go out and feed their ever-growing greedy appetite for more stuff. What ever happened to closing up shop, spending time with family and friends, and celebrating the true meaning of the holiday? Take Easter, for example. It isn’t about shopping for more junk we don’t need. Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Sure, it is fun for kids to hunt for eggs and eat chocolate bunnies, but let us not fall victim to retailers during this time. Easter would exist even if we closed ALL of the retail establishments and take away the candy and eggs.

It is time for America to wake up and realize that life is about more than collecting crap we don’t need! We need to get back to celebrating the TRUE meaning of holidays and not using them as an excuse to shop.

But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.

Matthew 6:20 (HCSB)

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