by Karen Fliedner, OCF Communications Assoc. Ed.
Take this quick quiz in honor of Presidents Day.
Presidents Day is a legal holiday celebrating:
a) George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays
b) only George Washington’ birthday
c) all past presidents?
If you answered a)–BZZZ-wrong answer; thanks for playing. If you said b)–George Washington’s birthday–you’re correct, and legally so. But if you answered b) and c) you’re also correct–sort of. It’s a government thing–which may explain things.
The legal name of Presidents Day is actually Washington’s Birthday, in honor the father of our country, our first president. Until 1971 both Washington’s Feb. 22 and Lincoln’s Feb. 12 birthdays were each celebrated as legal holidays. A single federal holiday was then established for the third Monday of every February.
President Richard Nixon proclaimed it Presidents Day–a day to now honor all past presidents. But trumping Nixon’s declaration–to the apparent exclusion of Lincoln and every other president save one–by law in the U.S. Code it remains a legal holiday solely celebrating Washington’s birthday.
Making it a bit of a misnomer since Washington’s actual birthdate can never fall on any third Monday of February. And probably also stoking the common misconception of Presidents Day being a celebration of both Washington and Lincoln birthdays, since it falls between Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays.
But no matter how Presidents Day is celebrated or regarded–largely now as a three-day weekend–it is a day we should especially pause to thank God for those Commanders-in-Chief who served Him and our nation greatly and nobly, starting with Washington.
But it’s also a day we are reminded of what God expects His people to do the other 364 days as well: pray and intercede for the kings (presidents!) and all those in authority over us.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-4).