Many Christians attribute Christmas’ origin of December 25th to 4th century Christians and John Chrysotom’s sermon in 386ad. The rest of the world celebrates a myriad of different holidays around that date (Winter solstice/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Saturnailia, etc.). None of these were called Christmas, and their origins date back much further.
In today’s world Christmas isn’t “Christ’s Mass” but a syncretism of many religious holidays. This gives me pause and makes me wonder if syncretism is a new battle for Christmas or an original design.
In the 4th century Romans celebrated the birth of their gods regularly and their celebrations revolved around the solar and lunar events. Many theories about what motivated Christians to create holidays (holy days) to commemorate the heroes of their faith on these days create some strife in the church. Some say it was to combat the holidays of the pagans and others say it was purely to honor these people and God on special days. Either theory is pure speculation and offers no resolve. We need an authority on the subject. So, I want us to forget these theories and consider some scriptures and see if we can answer, “why does Christmas stop the world for a day?
What is a holiday? Holiday’s etymology means “holy day”. Since Christmas and holiday aren’t in the scriptures, what do the scriptures say about the phrase “holy day”?
1) The Sabbath, Day of Rest or Lord’s Day is one of the ten commandments. We are to observe it once every 6 days as a day of rest, holy and a time to remember and proclaim God’s deliverance, atonement and goodness. (Exodus 20:8-11, Deut. 5:12-15)
2) The Sabbath is upheld as a command by Christ who declared himself “Lord of the Sabbath.” (Mt. 12:8)
3) In Acts 13:44 we see Paul meeting with believers/non-believers and teaching on the Lord’s day. (Acts 13:44-52)
So, according to God’s word, God has prescribed one holy day, the sabbath. This day is characterized by a few things:
1) Rest once every 6 days
2)Reflection on the Works of God
3) Proclamation of the Works of God
4) A solemn assembly in the name of Christ which should contain therein the previous three.
Now, contrast the busyness, strife, greed, covetousness, and Christ-less, hypocritical morality called the “Spirit of Christmas” with what God has prescribed as His Holy Day.
I hope you’re wondering whether or not Christ wants to be in Christmas or if we put him on a seat of honor he’d rather not sit upon. And before you think I’m humbugging Christmas, I’m not. I love gathering and celebrating with family, giving thanks to God, giving gifts and making fun foods. But I’m wondering if it should be a full-on Holy Day (as God prescribes a holy day) or just a family reunion. The more I understand what the scripture says a Holy Day means to God, the more I desire the Sabbath and the less I desire Christmas, Easter, etc.
I guess if you’re still reading this it won’t be long till you figure out I presuppose God is particular on how He desires to be worshiped (aka, The Regulative Principle). I believe, according to scripture, that He cares a great deal about how and with what means we remember Him by. According to this principle, the means God gave us are sufficient, and like our salvation, don’t need anything added. God instituted the means of:
1) The Sacraments taken to remember His Works
2) The Sabbath to gather and remember His Works
3) The scriptures read and taught to remember His Works
4) Prayer to remember His Works
So, why does Christmas stop the world for a day? I’ll tell you why, because it really is all about the gifts. And that’s okay! God has his holiday every Sunday. I don’t think he cares for another one or it would have been prescribed in the scriptures.
“For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:16-21
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