OBSERVING RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS (By: Mike Riley)

As we study the Bible, we see that God never commands us to observe a religious holiday. Our responsibility is to honor Christ as we worship Him “in spirit and in truth” upon the first day of the week (John 4:24; Acts 2:42; Ephesians 5:19). Nothing in the New Testament authorizes celebrations, masses, or special services concerning the birth of Christ. In fact, Paul warned people against establishing special “holy days” without Biblical authority (Gal. 4:8-11).
Remembering Christ
As Christians, we know that we must remember Christ every day of the year, and not just once or twice a year. We do this by following His example that has been left for us (1 Peter 2:21-22). We remember Christ by doing all (word and deed) “in the name of the Lord” (Colossians 3:17).
We remember Him as we confess Christ before others through our daily words and actions (Matthew 10:32; 1 John 4:15; Titus 1:16; 1 Timothy 6:12; Hebrews 3:1;Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:23). Let us never forget these things. Christ must be remembered and reverenced daily!
The Death Of Christ On The Cross
While the birth of Christ takes its place as a momentous event, we need to understand that the birth of Christ means nothing if He did not die on the cross. If our Lord would have died a “natural death,” if He had died of “old age and complications,” then His birth would have meant nothing. It is because of our Lord’s sacrificial death on the cross for us that His birth has meaning.
As Jesus stood falsely accused before Pilate, facing an unjust and cruel death at the hands of sinners, He said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37).
His birth was celebrated by the angels, and by men because of what He was going to do, i.e. die for men, bringing salvation to all (Luke 2:28-38). Even if men did not completely understand this at the time (Matthew 16:21-22), this was the purpose for the celebration of His birth by the angels. The “peace,” the “good will,” etc., (Luke 2:14) is realized by those who are Christians!
Because of this, we find repeated emphasis placed, not upon Christ’s birth, but upon His death for all mankind (John 3:16-17). Remembering the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is what is revealed in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4); but observing His birth religiously (on any day of the year) is not (Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:11).
Observing Civil Holidays
We might ask, “What about celebrating a civil holiday, giving gifts, etc.?” Once again, we must make our appeal to the Scriptures. Though one would not celebrate December 25th as the birth of Christ, can one use this day as a national or civil holiday (like the 4th of July, or Labor day, etc.) and get together with family and loved ones to eat, thank God for our blessings, and give gifts or cards to one another? Can we find authority for giving something to others we love? Yes, we can.
Paul said, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” and “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate” (Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 6:17-18).
Our Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Could we take time to strengthen family bonds and togetherness at this time of year? Of course, we can. God places a premium upon family and loving one another (Ephesians 5:22-33;Ephesians 6:1-4; James 2:8).
Family togetherness can be expressed through meals, occasions of gift-giving, or sharing of nice cards, etc., as we would celebrate an anniversary, a birthday in the family, or any civil holiday in this country such as Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Labor Day, etc.- By Mike Riley

Comments are closed.