“‘Holiday’: What’s in a Name?”

August 24, 2010

Here we are at the end of the summer, 2010: Labor Day holiday weekend.  But, do most of us ever even think about what that means?

The answer to that question is both Yes and No.  It’s Yes to the extent that we think of, for example, Memorial Day and Independence Day as the other summer “holidays” every year.

The No part of the answer is where the problem shows itself.  Honestly, how many of us even consider where the term “holiday” came from and what it’s supposed to mean?  Read on and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  Whether you agree or disagree with me is less important than that you think about it.

The current idea of a holiday being a day off from work is quite a secularized drift from the original sense of the word, which is “holy day.”  What the two perspectives have in common is that, with a “holy day,” there was a time of rest that went along with the time of worship of the Lord, which was the heart of the day set aside, such as Christmas, remembering the birth of Jesus Christ, and Easter, recalling His resurrection from the dead.

No, I’m not implying that there is anything distinctively “holy” about Labor Day.  I am simply bemoaning the fact that the term “holiday” has become very loosely defined over the years, especially in contemporary American culture.

However, there is something that has at least an “echo of holiness” that each of us can remember this Labor Day.  Just as God rested from His labor of creation on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3), so can we consider the blessing of rest from our sometimes wearying labor, thankfully “mimicking” God’s creative pattern to at least that small extent.

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