When I retired a couple of years ago, one of the things I determined would be an important part of my life would be physical exercise. Some see retirement as the time to kick back, take it easy, and as a result the pounds start to go on. It has been my personal observation that as I get older, it is a lot easier to put the pounds on than it is to take them off! God has been gracious to give me good health, and I believe it is an act of stewardship and appreciation to take care of myself.
One of the ways I get my daily exercise fix is to take walks. When the weather is good, I make it a habit to do at least three or more miles a day to get my 10,000 steps in. When the weather is bad, I must resort to other measures, one of which is to do my walking indoors. Near where I live is a large mall which is a perfect place to get my steps in and it is here that I found myself on a somewhat chilly day before Easter.
As I made my circuits of the mall, it happened to be the day families could come and get their photos taken with the Easter Bunny. I observed a somewhat long line of parents and children, all dressed up for their photo opportunity. Since the line was quite long, I took it upon myself to observe how it moved during my one hour walk (I hate waiting in lines), and surprisingly only about 1/3 of those in line made it to the Easter Bunny by the end of my walk.
As I thought of all those families waiting for their turn with the Easter Bunny, it occurred to me how fiendishly clever Satan is. Here is the time when Christians celebrate what could be argued is the greatest day in human history. It is the day Christ rose from the dead, conquering sin and death, and providing a way back to God. But here we find dozens of families waiting for the Easter Bunny, most likely many of them unaware of the true significance of the day.
Easter has been co-opted by a rabbit hopping around with a basket and candy!
But that is not the only holy day that we have lost. Four months ago, we celebrated what could be considered the second greatest day in human history, the day Christ, the second member of the Trinity, stepped into time to live as one of us so He could become the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Instead of celebrating Christ’s birth, we think of an overweight jolly old man in a red coat with a white beard, eight reindeer, a sleigh, and a bag of toys. Millions of people the world over celebrate the holidays with gifts to one another completely oblivious to the true reason for the season.
Christmas has been co-opted by Santa and brightly wrapped presents under a tree!
Then there is All Saints Day, November 1 of each year. On the day before, October 31, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg sparking the Protestant Reformation. This was one of the other great days in Church history, but does the world have any idea of the significance of this day? Not at all. Instead, we celebrate October 31 as Halloween, a time to dress up as ghosts, goblins, cartoon characters, and other scary creatures. The importance of what Martin Luther did on that day has been lost.
October 31 has been co-opted by the world as a day to dress up and collect candy.
Finally, there is Thanksgiving. This holiday was instituted by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as a day in which our nation would celebrate a time of Thanksgiving for all that God had done for us. Its roots, of course, go back to the Pilgrims when they celebrated God’s provision for them as they eked out a meager existence the first few years of life in the New World. It was intended to be a time of reflection and of the giving of thanks to God, but instead it has turned into a time where we stuff ourselves with a large dinner, sit in front of the television for football, and gather our strength so we can venture out in the wee hours of the next day to take advantage of Black Friday.
Thanksgiving has been co-opted by turkey, football, pumpkin pie, and anticipation of shopping.
I don’t know about you, but I became a bit depressed thinking of how the true meaning of Easter, Christmas, Halloween (October 31), and Thanksgiving has been co-opted by the world. It seems Satan could not eliminate the significance of these days, so he just rebranded them into something different. And I hate to admit it, but I find myself sometimes playing along. I decided this time not to do so. I have decided to recover the true meaning of these great holidays for myself and not be distracted by Satan’s rebranding.
How about you?