A holy day for most of history had to be a work day, because most people have been farmers. The goat and chickens needed feeding. If you had a cow, the cow needed milking.
There were, naturally, jobs that could be put off, yet nature naturally acts according to the nature of the various plants and animals.
Just as we have to wash, eat, and drink, so do our fellow creatures. The ox that falls into the ditch must be saved, even on the Sabbath.
A holy day is to be as special as we can make the day. Some activities will be mundane, because a few jobs cannot be put off. Nature calls.
Scrooges twist this and use this as an excuse to do their normal routines (especially money making) on a holy day. They lose joy. The puritanical will try to make a holy day miserable, not because of piety, but general crabbiness. They stifle joy.
Instead, the faithful do what we must, yet hurry to worship and run to the feast. The mass at Christmas, the vigil at Pascha, these are special joys, holy jobs, and the golden glow puts our normal toil in a new light.
No accident that God has taken humble things such as eating, drinking, washing and made them sacraments. We drink, God gives us a Holy Grail. We eat, God gives the Bread of Heaven. We wash, He comes as our Servant and washes our feet.
We are obligated to worship as a reasonable service, as necessary to men. This worship happens in the ordinary tasks, of course. God sustains all and empowers every good task. We are always living as part of God’s creation, feeling His Spirit that empowers us and sustains all around us daily.
The golden glory of high worship, the special holy day highlights the constant glory of God.
We acknowledge that what we do daily can point godward. The special services or customs of the holy days are the “bold” or “italics” used by the Church to emphasize the sacredness of all the year.
The chores we must do on a holy day, are holy and are always holy. Every day is God’s day, but some days we stop, think about, and recognize that truth. On these special days, our normal tasks are preludes or postludes to acts that are extraordinary: the Lord’s Supper each Sunday, the fast of Advent and the feast of Christmas, Lent and Easter, the many holidays of the year.
The good God gives us at least one day in seven to rest and then adds to this even more fasts and feasts of the year. We live for joy, not for the pathway to joy. We are headed to the golden City of God, not endless tedium.
We are not mice running on a wheel, trapped in a cage. We create glory daily by being people doing our tasks and then see a gleam of that golden glory in our special days. If we do our duty as God gives us, then we are creating something eternal. God never forgets any good His children do.
He treasures them, perfects them, and sets them in a beautiful frame. Our daily work is the canvas and our greater works, the holiest acts of prayer and service, are the icon of Divinity: Christ within is the hope of glory.