I understand being asked. I do Christmasy things. Christmas parties, singing carols, peppermint mochas, Christmas trees…
Does the Church accept Christmas as a real Holy Day?
We do not…
Then why all the Christmasy things? What’s with all the cheer?
We can’t make a day holy. Only God can do that. There isn’t anything man, the state or the church can do to set apart a special day that God has a duty to accept as holy.
With that, our God does not approve of our taking creative license in regard to faith and practice. If he did not tell us that it is to be done in the worship – it is not to be done in worship. If he said it is to be done, it must be done.
I can participate in most worldly fascinations in good conscience as the Apostle Paul explained . He can eat anything in the marketplace (even foods sacrificed to idols) because they have no power – and Christ does.
The 4th of July is a secular day (we call them holidays, meaning “holy day” but really they are mere civil or cultural observances). Groundhogs day. Labor Day. St Patrick’s day. My birthday. Thanksgiving day. Whatever you’ve got brewing and they are secular holidays that we participate in without an issue of conscience because we ourselves are Christians.
But they are not the Lord’s days; he did not ordain them and we would sin by requiring the church or the Christian to observe them, the Christian conscience being free from the religious fictions of men. To make things up and require a congregation to worship that way is an egregious error. WCF 21.1
But still this one is a little different. Not as different as people make it out to be but still different. We celebrate the 4th of July because we love our country and St. Patrick’s day (not because we love Patrick, even though some of us love Patrick) but because we love the Irish. But people celebrate Christmas because they love Jesus..
That does make it different and important and powerful because it is not every day that the world love Jesus with us. It’s a little shocking? Isn’t it? That they celebrate Jesus, our Jesus? Sometimes, frankly, it’s confusing. What are they thinking? This is the same Jesus that just yesterday they either did not like or at least dismissed without further consideration. Now they’re singing songs about him; to him. Recounting the incarnation, the virgin birth, the prophesies, the praises.. a star.. a star.. shining in the night, it will bring us goodness and light!
So avoid Christmas? I embrace Christmas. Not as an ordained act of worship, because it is not. Not as a holy day, because it is not. Not even as a Christian day, because a holy day made up by Christians is not any more Christian than any other religious innovation made up by Christians. Strange fire always pleases men and they please themselves by their own genius, but God has high standards.
I embrace Christmas as an obviously secular holy day. It is not Christian religion, it is religion in general. Ouch, but in India it would be Ganesh. That’s not ideal but if I were in India and they had a big Ganesh day party and served pie I would probably eat it. I mean, pie is good especially with coffee and I don’t really care too much about Ganesh.
I mean, when the world (or the church) is making up religious holy days for observance and come up to Jesus, they’re going to have a party. Or something. That’s what the fallen human conscience does when it wants to worship the God they know is there but they don’t have the Bible to cause and direct. They create. They make things up.
Read Romans 14 and see if you see what I see.
In any case, it’s just a secular holy day about my Jesus. He is mine, and I hope yours, and I even hope theirs eventually.
But until then it’s about flying reindeer, St. Nicholas, hot chocolate, Christmas trees and a strange divine-human baby in a manger that gives us a hope we can only vaguely identify.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.Isaiah 9
Romans 14, The Apostle Paul
As for mthe one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 nOne person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and olet not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4 pWho are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master1 that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 qOne person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. rEach one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since she gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For tnone of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, uwhether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ vdied and lived again, that he might be Lord both wof the dead and of the living.
10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For wwe will all stand before xthe judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,
y“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess2 to God.”
12 So then zeach of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 aTherefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide bnever to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus cthat nothing is unclean in itself, dbut it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, eyou are no longer walking in love. fBy what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 gSo do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 hFor the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but iof righteousness and jpeace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is kacceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us lpursue what makes for peace and for mmutual upbuilding.
20 nDo not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. oEverything is indeed clean, but pit is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 qIt is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.3 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. rBlessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.4
“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ESV
“It came upon a midnight clear
That glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold
Peace on the earth good will to men
From heavens all gracious King
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing
Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing
And ever oer its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing
All ye beneath life’s crushing load
Whose forms are bending low
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look now for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing
O rest beside the weary roadEdmund H. Sears (1849)
And hear the angels sing
The whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing”