Reconsidering Holidays

Columbus PortraitToday is National Bank (and Government Offices) Sabbath Day. But, it is also Columbus Day.

I think a lot of people are disenfranchised with Columbus Day, or at least with the fact that we can’t withdraw any money. And, honestly, as long as I can remember having critical thinking skills (which, admittedly, is not all that long) I remember questioning why we have a “Columbus Day.” Didn’t he just “discover” some land that had already been discovered, and, in fact, inhabited, for quite some time?

But, there’s another aspect for us to consider from a Christian standpoint: should we celebrate what Columbus “accomplished?” Here’s a video offering an interesting perspective.

Now, I know most people don’t really “celebrate” Columbus Day. But, I’m not really talking about Columbus Day, anyway. This all brings up a more important subject, an aspect of human nature: we tend to forget or ignore certain negative elements of history.

Don’t we tend to glamorize certain stories? Isn’t it interesting that those are usually nationalistic stories (our “Revolution” was, to England, a rebellion)? Or stories that contributed to our personal benefit (over 100 men lost their lives in the construction of the Hoover Dam)?

Winston Churchill said, “History is written by the victors.” That means we have to be careful what we celebrate, as Christians, because the events and holidays we “remember” may not be holy (the root of holi-day) at all. The wars and victories we commemorate may not be worthy of such honor. And, more personally, the sins I have committed, though they be forgiven, ought not be forgotten. I don’t want to be guilty of celebrating what I should have mourned and learned from.

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4 thoughts on “Reconsidering Holidays

    • Ha. Well, not as a ghoul or goblin so as to deter evil spirits.

      Actually, in my convoluted reasoning, Halloween falls under a different category of “holiday” than what I was referring to in my post. And, as I mentioned, I wasn’t really talking about Columbus Day or other holidays per se, but about our inclination to remember the good (Columbus “discovered” America) and forget the bad (but he enslaved and massacred indigenous people). Of course, that’s not always true (we remember the Holocaust), but it is generally true of the history that benefited us (our “victories”: the Revolutionary War, Manifest Destiny, “taming” the West, industrialization, etc.).

      As for Halloween’s sordid history, well, I suppose if we give up letting our kids dress up and ask for candy we’ll have to give up trees and presents and December 25th since many of the elements of Christmas have pagan roots. But I’m more for letting such traditions stand as they are, having been long removed from their origins. But, that’s another story for another time.

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