Today is “Presidents’ Day,” but how many of you know which presidents’ birthdays we’re celebrating? If you’re under 50, there’s a good chance you’re stumped because their birthdays are no longer mentioned on today’s calendars.
Ok, if you know the two president’s we’re celebrating today, or the pictures above gave it away, without looking it up do you know the dates of their birthdays? Those days are imprinted in my mind because growing up they were always celebrated separately and we had the day off of school.
On February 12, we talked about Lincoln emancipating the slaves and the tragic loss of a great president when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.
On February 22, we ate cherry pie and talked about George Washington, the first president of the United States, who as a kid couldn’t tell a lie about chopping down the family cherry tree.
I remember the construction paper silhouettes we made in school, and the honor given to each president. Sadly, those two important dates, their birthdays, are now ancient forgotten history.
Combined for Convenience
Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays to honor the actual birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Then President Richard Nixon proclaimed one single federal public holiday, the Presidents’ Day, to be observed on the 3rd Monday of February, and everyone rejoiced at having a three-day holiday.
It’s not unusual to celebrate a birthday on a different day than it actually falls, especially for children’s birthdays so they can have a Saturday party with their friends, but we never forget their actual birth date. I know parents who celebrate several siblings birthday together for convenience, or maybe even combine it with a distant relative. Maybe that happened to you . . . and I wonder how you felt about it.
The fall out of “Presidents’ Day” is that there are now generations who enjoy a three-day weekend in February, but have absolutely no idea why they have the day off.
It Only Takes One Generation to Forget
As has happened with honoring the birthdays of the first president of the United States and the president who emancipated the slaves, if we don’t pass down the Christian faith to the next generation, Jesus’ birthday could also become obsolete . . . forgotten. Maybe not even on the calendar . . . December 25th could become just another “Winter Holiday.”
Easter could become a “Spring Holiday”.
We see this trend every Christmas and Easter when the secular world tries to take Jesus out of the celebration, and it will happen in our Christian world too…families…children…generations to come. . . if we don’t continue to tell the Gospel story of Jesus and His love from one generation to the next.
Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.
I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor
and your wonderful miracles.
Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue;
I will proclaim your greatness.
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
they will sing with joy about your righteousness.
Springfield, Illinois at the Abraham Lincoln Museum