Every culture has holidays, but few sanctify more special days than Americans. Perhaps it’s because we embrace our past as good and godly. Perhaps it’s because we hunger for any reason to party or get a day off. Or perhaps it’s because we need another special day to capitalize on our consumerism.
Regardless of the reason, Americans celebrate famous people like Martin Luther King Jr., St. Patrick, and Columbus. We memorialize Mondays into three-day weekends to rest from our labor. We throw parties on July 4, October 31, and December 31. We love to give thanks around turkey, football, and reruns of Miracle on 34th Street. We particularly relish chocolate holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter, but won’t forget mother and father need their day, too.
Of course, designating a day as holy, or set apart, is nothing new. It’s how we get the word holiday in the first place. Americans simply have learned how to make a buck off most cultural celebrations (and that’s nothing new, either). Ultimately, we create holy days to remember a person, event, or thing. We don’t want to forget how we got here, who made us who we are, or why we fought.
Consequently, it’s no surprise Jesus used the ancient Jewish holiday of Passover to celebrate his life. He built a memorial around a meal of Exodus and then chose to recline and rest. Jesus lifted the cup of wine and gave thanks, revealing this drink as a new blood covenant. He broke the bread with gratitude and grace, teaching its brokenness was his body. Jesus was the ancient Passover lamb. He was the blood painted on the doorframe. He was their Moses.
Jesus created a holiday to remember his sacrifice. “Do this in remembrance of me,” he told his disciples. And they did. And we still do, every Sunday, set apart time to reflect, recall, and rewind.
For Christians, every Sunday is a holy day and this meal is the glue that connects generations of believers, globally, for all time. It’s our Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, and Easter all rolled into one.
Come, let us celebrate.
Rick Chromey is the director of leadership and online training programs for KidZ At Heart, International, Mesa, Arizona. He has empowered children’s ministry leaders to lead, teachers to teach, and trainers to train for more than three decades (www.rickchromey.com).