May Days

By David W Roach 

  May is a month of special days. In ancient times May the First was a day for celebrating the return of sun after the long cold winter. Different cultures called May First by different names, but all the celebrations involved young men jumping over bonfires in a drunken state. Girls didn’t jump over bonfires, but danced around a pole with ribbons hanging from the top, but the girls didn’t dance in a drunken state.

  May the Fifth is Cinco de Mayo, the day when the Mexican Army defeated the French Army at the Battle of Pueblo. It is not Mexican Independence Day—that’s September 16th— and has nothing to do with people in the United States except that Americans have developed a taste for nachos and margaritas. In the USA Cinco de Mayo is a day to party.

  The Second Sunday in May is always Mother’s Day, a day to celebrate moms. Mother’s Day is for mothers in particular, therefore the apostrophe comes before the S and not after. The founder wanted to celebrate our particular moms and not moms in general.

  And the last Monday in May is Memorial Day.  It wasn’t always the last Monday in May. Before 1970, Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30th. May 30th didn’t always fall on a Monday, but federal and state workers took Mondays off anyway and in 1970 the government made it official.

  On Memorial Day we remember those who gave their lives in defense of our freedom.

  None of these celebration have anything to do with the Christian year, but they do influence the worship behavior of Christians in the songs we sing and the prayers we say.

  The exceptions are Christmas and Easter. Christians co-opted pagan holiday, giving Christian meanings to pagan symbols like the pine tree at Christmas and the bunny at Easter. 

  Some Christians are uncomfortable with pagan symbols because they confuse the message of Christ. I understand, but I also think that this makes much ado of nothing. Faith is not challenged by a pine tree or an egg-bearing bunny. We know the difference between Jesus Christ and idols.

  The Christians in Corinth had similar concern. The Corinthian Christians worried about meat sacrificed to idols. Would eating meat sacrificed to idols put their salvation in jeopardy?

  Paul answered this way, “No idol in the world really exists and that there is no God but one.” Paul’s advice is amazingly liberating. Eat or don’t eat, it’s up to the individual. If our faith is grounded in Christ, then it doesn’t matter where the meat came from. Our only concern should be the effect our behavior has on others whose faith is not as strong as ours. Paul goes on, “If eating sacrificed meat causes a believer to stumble, then I won’t eat.”

 Enjoy your freedom in Christ.