Trouble with spelling? You’re not alone. While many spell words as easily as a sled flies on ice, others wrestle with it. It’s understandable given that the English language does not help. Through and threw. Who knew or new?

The rules of spelling guide us, but who can remember them all? Even though spelling comes naturally enough for me, I empathize with those who struggle.

One of those rules is about pluralizing words. The general rule is that if the word ends in “y,” you change the “y” to an “i” and add “es” to make it plural. For example, folly becomes follies. Dry becomes dries. Victory becomes victories.

Culture holds hostage much of the true meaning of Advent and Christmas Day. Before the first sweet treasure is unwrapped after trick-or-treating, stores begin loading shelves and displays with gift ideas and decorations. The commercial collusion between your money and stores’ profits commences.

Lots of people call the upcoming days the “holiday season.” Contrary to my extensive spelling training, I believe we need to make a change.

It’s time to change the “i” to a “y.” Advent, the period of time preparing to celebrate the birth of God’s son, began this year on Dec. 3. It will continue through Dec. 24. The following day, Christmas Day, is Dec. 25, and it is not a holiday. It is a holy day.

Instead of “holiday season” or “happy holidays,” I suggest it is time to change “holidays” to “holydays,” turning our focus toward Advent. Advent is a time of holy days pondering God’s decision to send his son from the glory of heaven to earth. Jesus, through his miraculous birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection demonstrated clearly the character of Jehovah God, and is still the only way that man can be reconciled to God through grace.

These holy days are a time to reflect on God’s character. Absolute Truth. Omniscient. Always present. Faithful. Holy. All-powerful. Just. Always present. Righteous. Sovereign. Personal. Merciful. Love.

God sent Jesus for people who need him, who admit their sinfulness and their need for a savior, who admit their failures and seek forgiveness, who need compassion because their wounds are acute and gut wrenching. We all need Jesus, God’s most loving gift sent to provide a living example of God and his character.

It is the Lord who is carrying me through these days of profound pain and loss. Some people label me a “strong woman,” but I am strong, as the apostle Paul admonishes, when I am weak (and I am always weak). My strength comes only from God. It is God’s spirit and his character of mercy, not the Christmas spirit, that gives me hope and faith that these days of struggling with the ache in my heart will serve to increase God’s character in me.

The tension between the “holidays” and “holydays” brings contradictions to my heart. Never one to be a Scrooge, I nevertheless am unfulfilled if I allow the world to imprison my attentions when there is something far more weighty at stake. Tension compels us to choose our focus, either to diminish the truth or to live it out. The truth of these holy days is this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Nothing can take away or add to that truth.

I yield my long-entrenched commitment to correct spelling if it will impact one heart to move from holidays to holy days.

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