After the end of World War I, Decoration Day was extended to include all American men and women who died serving their country in any military action or war.
Although initially known as Decoration Day, the present name for this special day didn’t come into use until the end of World War II and was officially made a federal holiday in 1971. It is a time of honor for those who are America’s heroes.
Even the Bible says in Romans 13:7 (KJV): “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” These men and women who died serving their country certainly deserve honor.
But the holiday has become less of an event of commemoration. What began as a day to honor America’s military dead is often seen today only as the beginning of summer and a good excuse for commercial promotions. Many opt to observe Memorial Day by holding sports events, family gatherings and picnics during this weekend — forgetting the reason and not thinking of “Who.” Hopefully, most will at least note the meaning for the holiday as they celebrate.
How do we celebrate Christ who died for us, was buried and arose? Do we focus on the “What” and not the “Who”? Many who do not profess to know the Savior wear a cross as a symbol or a good-luck charm. Others focus on events in Jesus’ life, yet fall far astray of the meaning of special times such as celebrating the Resurrection — the crux of Christianity — with rabbits and Easter eggs. They say they’re honoring Christ, but the commercial aspect of Christian Holy days obscures the “Who” and we find ourselves “going with the flow.” And is some cases, His Creation is worshipped rather than the Creator.
Even churches at times get lost in celebrating Christ and drift into popular ideas of what honors Him and what doesn’t. Instead of gathering in worship of Christ, too many times it has become more convenient to dismiss regular church services on occasion, and people are urged to just “do your thing” ... and feel justified by calling it “family time.” Families are very important, so important that it seems rather odd to think Christ is honored by closing the church doors when the family is afforded the opportunity to come and share praise and worship of our Lord. We should appreciate this.
Jesus Christ is due the honor, glory and praise that arises from a pure heart — not a feigned adoration or an afterthought, but from genuine love that can only be when we have a relationship with our Lord God. The prayer that was taught to the disciples began with praise to our Heavenly Father and ended with “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Let’s take our cue from Jesus’ words.