Ahhhhh, I love public holidays. I love the joy of turning off the alarm clock and snuggling back under the covers. Warm, cozy. No appointments, no responsibilities. In my opinion, ANY holiday is a good holiday.
One of the challenges of living overseas is not having a built-in consciousness of that particular nation’s public holidays. I mean, I’ve lived most of my life in Canada, and I can tell you EXACTLY when the public holidays will be. In fact, I’m quite certain that my body clock resets itself by those dates… Family Day, Spring Break, Victoria Day, Canada Day, August long weekend, Labour Day weekend, Thanksgiving, and finally Christmas. I ♥ it!
But what happens when you move to another country and lose that internal holiday clock? You become “royally” MESSED UP, that’s what. You looooong for holidays when there aren’t any, and you get irritated when the stores are closed because you didn’t realize it was a holiday. It’s actually quite ridiculous.
So, today I decided to change things up a bit. Besides enjoying a “lekker long lie-in” (loosely translated “deliciously long sleep”), I decided to look up the reason and rationale for today’s holiday. Here’s what I learned…
Today is National Women’s Day in South Africa.
It commemorates the 1956 Women’s March in which more than 20 000 women of all ages and races staged a peaceful march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria. These courageous women were protesting the apartheid practice of forcing black African citizens to carry pass books in order to travel outside of their homelands. They were protesting the internal passport system designed to segregate people, control urbanization, and manage migrant labour.
In a political climate marked by anger, violence, and fear, these women showed the world what it looks like to respond in an opposite spirit. They didn’t scream and destroy property. They didn’t injure people and deface buildings. No, rather, they simply and powerfully left bundles of petitions containing more than 100 000 signatures at the doors of the prime minister, and then they stood silent for 30 minutes. . . . . . . . . Wow!
What a picture of strength and character!
I was instantly reminded of these words from Scripture.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it’” (Isaiah 30:15 NLT).
So, as I rest and relax today in honour of these women who changed the course of history in this nation, I am struck by the contrast between their behaviour and what we see on the news. And I find myself asking,
- Where are the quietly confident ones in this generation who will follow their example?
- Who will confidently stand up against unrighteousness in nations and governments, without hurling insults or throwing stones?
- Who will raise a standard of righteousness for the next generation to follow?
- Who will carry the torch of quiet confidence for those who don’t know any better?
And the powerful thing is this: if those women could do what they did back then, despite the fear and danger they faced, we who look back and honour them can also say with determination and confidence coursing through our veins… “I CAN TOO!”
Yes, I’ve had a great Women’s Day. How about you?