Rather than forget my history lessons and make a gross error in explaining how Labor Day came to be, I’ll share a link here to an interesting page provided at The History Channel’s site which has a plethora of information in the form of videos, speeches, historical information, and more.
The one thing I can tell you without fear of error is that the holiday was originally established to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers.
Life has changed in our country and much of our industrial and manufacturing processes have moved to other countries, so we have fewer such workers. Our corporate workers likely number a good deal more than our “blue-collar” workers today.
And unfortunately, our unemployed number far too many. Being out of work may prevent one’s celebration of Labor Day. Wonder how that feels?
Also the reason for celebrations have evolved into a last fling of summer, the last weekend at the lake or on the boat, the last outing with the kids before school starts, the last weekend of good weather in some areas, and the last of the summer harvests. A time of nostalgia for the memories made during the summer months.
But let’s go back to that unemployed worker who is likely not celebrating Labor Day. Out of work, living on less than it takes to keep a roof over his family’s head and clothing on their backs, this worker is not out on the lake, at a picnic, enjoying the comforts of being able to afford new clothing and school supplies for his children, and likely there is no health insurance for this family either.
I remember a time when my family had reached a similar point. My father was in poor health an entire summer. My mother was his primary caregiver. I was married to my first husband, and my younger brother was still in high school. Clever always, my mom figured out a way to pay the bills while dad was out of work by cutting off the newspaper subscription, finding a way to dispose of garbage and eliminating garbage pickup, stretching meals with a variety of ways, and keeping their bills current by calling to say she would “pay what I can this month but I’ll pay something every month.”
Labor Day wasn’t celebrated that year. And for good reason. It would have humiliated father to have a celebration going on for a “tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers.” He wasn’t contributing or achieving that year.
I also remember a verse of Scripture that came to me during that time as I pondered my family’s future:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
It is my hope that our brothers and sisters who were not in the spirit of Labor Day for one reason or another have heard about this testing of faith. And I hope they received encouragement to believe no matter what their circumstances. That belief and faith is all that got my parents through on several occasions.
I also hope that you and yours have had a safe, healthy, and joyous Labor Day weekend!
Linking up on Monday with:
Kelli Woodford at Unforced Rhythms
and on Wednesday with: