Consider the major holidays we Americans observe. I define a major holidays as a holiday for which retail stores have large inordinate displays for several week prior to the actual day of celebration. How many are genuinely observed?
Halloween is a mere caricature of what we it was. No one knows what they are celebrating in Halloween. They simply dress up for dressing ups sake. They give out candy for the sake of giving out candy. People are completely clueless.
Thanksgiving, similarly, is where we give thanks. To whom we are to give this “thanks,” we have no idea. For many, it is merely a cause to be thankful that they do not live with their relatives year-round.
That any true meaning of Christmas has been largely boiled down to many is no secret.
The Fourth of July barely makes the list, and it does have a remnant of meaning left–some kind of vague idea of patriotism and whatnot. But it does have some meaning (though we hasten to add that it is not about fireworks).
Perhaps it should not surprise us that the holiday which most Americans have really embraced for all that it means is Valentine’s Day. There is no denying that we love our amore, and we know how to celebrate it. Yes, EROS–now there’s an idea we Americans can really get behind with all our heart, soul, mind, and body. And we have all the essentials to make it a truly religious experience: oblations (wine), food offerings (candy and chocolates), sacrifices (roses–okay, maybe that’s a stretch), ritual music , priestly garments (you just have to walk by the ladies department this time of year), and so forth.
What should our response as Christians be to this most holy day? Perhaps we Christians can do some work to reform the culture and bring back some good-old fashioned Christian meaning to the day, like calling it “Marriage Day,” or “Abstinence Day.” Or we can use the culture’s acute awareness of love to proclaim that God loves us–that Jesus is our Valentine. If we could the PAX or TBN television networks behind this we may be able to really “confront” our culture. The possibilities are endless. Of course, we must walk carefully. We do not want to be accused by the holiday’s devotees of taking the “Eros” out of Valentine’s Day. That would really spark the culture wars.
Note to the reader: the previous was satirical. The author is not reprimanding those believers who commemorate this day in any way.