Modern American society has dumbed down so-called holidays. The word “holiday” is derived from and sounds like an Old English expression “holy day,” a day set aside for religious observance, for worship of and paying tribute to God. These days few people are willing to be thought of as devoting anything whatsoever to God. To do so might be thought to be hopelessly sentimental or superstitious.
The most prominent example is Christmas, an unscriptural holiday to begin with, an occasion it never occurred to the original “Christ” of Christmas that his followers should observe. It was added by renegade imitators under the influence of the form Roman religion of the day. Nonetheless, there are millions of people who think of it as a “Christian” holiday. Yet many see the hypocrisy of the practices, that put it in contrast with the principles of Bible-based Christianity, so rather than rejecting the holiday itself, they reject Christianity.
Today many people are proud to declare themselves non-Christians who nonetheless celebrate Christmas at least to some degree — sometimes whole hog. Why? They can’t help it and don’t have the fortitude to live according to their real beliefs, so they just go along with it. To make sure people don’t get the wrong impression, they avoid where possible referring to the day by its original name, except with a disdainful tone of voice, though when cornered, they might refer to it in writing as Xmas, being sure to take Christ out of it.
Nowadays people have turned the original holidays into opportunities to have family time — something many scrupulously avoid the rest of the year. That becomes their excuse for consenting to go along with a tradition of which they do not personally approve. We have not yet reached the level where people are castigated for expressing a desire to be with their families. (But how many really want to do so?)
In the US the most innocuous, least offensive holiday is Thanksgiving, having only vague associations with non-Christian religious practices, and being more-or-less an expression of secular nationalism. For some Thanksgiving has become an excuse to engage in non-stop football watching on a couch, while engaging in spectacular feats of gluttony.
To me the dumbest dumbing down of them all has been with the number of people who now refer to Thanksgiving as Turkey Day, nicknaming it after the stupidest of birds, because of the traditional dinner fare consumed on that day, thereby removing any trace of an indication that they might actually use the occasion to reflect on what they have and have accomplished and be thankful for it.
To be thankful means to be full of thanks; in essence being thankful means giving thanks. But to whom is a person who has no relationship whatever with his Creator going to give that thanks and credit? To no one else. So he might as well quietly enjoy what gratefulness he feels, keep his mouth shut, and congratulate himself for his own cleverness in managing to acquire any sort of good he has happened to accomplish in his life.