There are six holidays each year that strike chords deep within me. Three of them are religious holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Christmas is the beginning of hope. My savior was born into this world to save whosoever. I am but one of the whosoevers. Easter is the fulfillment of hope. My savior conquered death once for all. Thanksgiving was a time of thankfulness. The pilgrims gathered together with some local friendly Natives and thanked God for the harvest. Each year as these seasons roll around, it gets harder and harder to even recognize what they are about. We can’t remember because the focus has shifted to anything but God. Christmas has become the “winter holiday,” which is a celebration of overspending and shopping frenzies. Easter has become a celebration of bunnies and candy. And even our children’s textbooks in school tell the story of Thanksgiving as a time when the pilgrims thanked the Native Americans for helping them survive. We accept these descriptions because we can’t remember.
The other three holidays that stir my heart are patriotic: Veterans Day, when we pause to recognize those who have served our country to preserve our freedoms; Memorial Day, when we pause to remember that there are those who have paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedoms; and Independence Day, when we celebrate the ratification of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. These holidays stir my heart because I am a patriot. Patriotism was taught to us in school as well as in the homes. Unfortunately, we have lost much of our patriotic fire to the cause of tolerance and acceptance. When the stories are no longer repeated over and over until they become part of us, we can’t remember.
We are not the only people with this memory problem. The children of Israel had trouble remembering also. Moses gave this warning as they neared the promised land: “When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you — a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant — then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord.”
By the time that the nation of Israel had taken possession of the land and divided it up among the tribes, they had forgotten. As Joshua neared his death, he again summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel together and recounted all that God had done for them. Then he gave them a charge; “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” They chose the Lord that day, but they soon forgot again.
Jessie Alberta Silvernail Card wrote these words”
So long as there are homes where fires burn; and there is bread;
So long as there are homes where lamps are lit; and prayers are said;
Although people falter through the dark; and nations grope;
With God himself behind these homes, we still have hope.
The solution for all of the problems that face us is in our abilities to remember. That solution is not found in the White House, nor is it found in the State House. The solution is not found in the courthouse. The solution can only be found when God’s house is honored in your house and in mine.