Off the Wall, December 11,

Ok, enough already! What is all this malarkey about “Have a great holiday season?” I have heard enough of it!

Anyone who can tell one who has worked over a duration of time and retired knows what the true meaning of what holidays are all about. Of course, we don’t call them holidays, even though essentially that could be the right description. Instead, we refer to these days as retirement.

So, we escaped from those companies where we were employed by doing labors of love that supported us all those years until we reached the ripe age in our mid-60’s. We were then sent off into the sunset with salutations of best wishes. Underneath it all, we knew we would never have to give it much thought of waking up when that alarm went off, jumping into the shower in what we considered the wee hours of the morning, gulping down a cup or two of the brew and racing to our vehicles, hoping to beat the traffic, getting to work on time.

But that was past. Now, we have nothing but holidays ahead. A time to relax around the pool, join our cronies for a night of bowling or perhaps a game of bridge.

When our friends exclaimed, “Happy holidays, we knew we were looking forward to something rewarding, years to which we had worked hard, and now they were in our midst, “Thank God!”

Does that make sense? As I’ve told many people, “Every day is a holiday for the retired, except for someone such as myself who enjoys selling my book and note cards at the Cooperstown Event Center on Tuesdays.” But as I see it, that’s not work as some may define the hard, grueling toil laborers put in at a steel mill, fishing trolling boat or any job that requires the constant use of plenty of muscle or strenuous mental tasks.

And what about vacations? Aren’t they really considered holiday times? Many citizens set up savings programs so they can do what with their money – take that “bag of coins” and head south for the winter, off to Disney World or to the cabin in a forested area. Those days of time off are definitely holiday seasons.

Don’t others throughout our country talk about certain holidays with the proper names? They will state, today is Martin Luther King Day, July Fourth or Thanksgiving.

Let’s just talk about the latter. We celebrated it recently. True, since August we’ve heard Christmas carols, seen decorations in stores and told about great sales on Christmas presents right up through and after Thanksgiving. Somehow, I feel this famous world holiday has been swept under the rug so the retail marketers can get the word out to buy early for those money saving deals.

Here’s the funny thing, in my opinion. Christmas and its season are talked about all the way up until late November. Then this precious name is dropped, and the word “holiday” is put in its place. We are no more supposed to say, “Have a wonderful Christmas season,” but instead, “Happy Holidays to all!” Sorry folks, but that doesn’t cut it with this kid (even though I am a senior citizen).

All through the year, we have recognized certain dates as associated with recognition of people, groups of persons or events. Do we state to others, “Happy Labor Day,” for example, or “Have a good holiday the first Monday of September. In my opinion, again, that sounds a bit stupid. People of this country are putting laborers on a pedestal. They are to be recognized for their hard work. Again, I don’t think people would be saying, “Happy Holidays!”

Why not call this time what it is, truly the Christmas season? Why use the name Christmas? Each year for thousands of years, we have celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ during this most festive occasion. Putting up the lights, bearing gifts and singing carols all have to do with the birth of our Savior.

He wasn’t an individual who was born, died, and that was that. He succumbed by being crucified on a cross, was laid to rest, rose and is alive. Our Lord is Our Savior, our redeemer for our sinfulness. His physical appearance on earth occurred December 25. This is the date we as Christians celebrate His birth.

True, it is certainly a holiday, but most important, it is the birth of God made Man, Jesus Christ. Thus, it’s imperative to state, “Merry Christmas!”

- Paul J. Volkmann
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