Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reading the Holidays

This Thanksgiving holiday I've just re-read Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation of Thanksgiving and I might read some of the Puritans this weekend as well*, or perhaps Washington.

This practice of reading the holidays began for me about ten years ago on July 4th.   I decided then that I'd re-read the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  I was guessing that it had been so long since I'd read them, I'd probably forgotten much of what they say.  My experiment proved my guess to be right.

I was struck, as I read them, just how remarkable these documents are.  Since then, I've repeated this almost every year.  Each time I re-read these documents, I find them moving.  They're beautifully written, and they strive for things that are, in my estimation, praiseworthy.

I've begun to add other readings for other holidays as well.  On MLK, Jr. Day, (and sometimes on April 4, the anniversary of his death) I listen to his "I Have A Dream" speech or read his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."  I admit it: both of these regularly make me cry.

Of course, I also read the appointed Scriptures for Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, and for some other feast days as well.  But here I'm interested in those holidays that are not holy-days but secular feasts.  How about you?  Do you have readings you associate with such holidays?  What do you recommend?


* (If you're interested, you can see my article on Puritanism by clicking here and searching for pp 631-632)

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