As many of my readers know I’m not a huge fan of the holiday season. I love Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s for the family aspects only, but feel that the reverence placed on these holidays is completely unwarranted for the Christian because Scripture never tells us to celebrate these days. With that in view, this post is intended to help us see how we fall into idolatry concerning these days.
First, when we hold these days with more reverence than the LORD’s day, we fall into idolatry. The reason for this is that God has given us the LORD’s day to worship Him. The other days are truly man’s inventions and we are exalting that which was created by man over and above that which was given to us by the LORD. We do this all the time as Christians, exalting that which God has not given us to worship Him with, while ignoring the clear things He has. Think of the importance we place on praise bands over and against the LORD’s supper. He never commanded praise bands (or choirs for earlier generations), but He did command the LORD’s supper: “Do this…in remembrance of Me.”
In giving select holidays more reverence than we do the LORD’s day, we show our true hand concerning God’s word to us. What I mean by this is that you will hear all kinds of people complaining about having to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but not about working on the LORD’s day. Why do they consider these days so holy and the one holy day of the week He has given us, they are so nonchalant about? This reminds me of my sons when I’m giving them instructions to help around the house. I tell them to do something and (because they aren’t paying attention to what I’ve said) they end up doing something else. And yes, they always have an excuse for doing the “something else.” It may even be a good excuse, but it wasn’t what I asked them to do.
God clearly tells us to keep the Sabbath Day holy (The LORD’s day in the New Testament). But we want to exalt and revere Thanksgiving and Christmas, claiming that stores should not be open on these days because these days are holy. Holy unto who? Not the LORD, but to the self.
Let’s be honest, the days are about self-indulgence, not reverence and holiness to the LORD. I know, we add “thanksgiving” in a general sense to God on Thanksgiving Day, and add the baby Jesus creche to Christmas (thereby breaking the Second Commandment), but we don’t do what He has called the people of God to actually do.
What are we to do as the people of God? We are to worship Him. We are to gather and hear His word proclaimed, pray to Him, and honor Him by keeping that which is holy that He has called holy. This is why He has raised up the church, to worship Him. Yet, when it comes to Christmas, we find that many exalt it over and above the normal weekly worship of the LORD. How do I know this? Just look at the times when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Churches are starting to close their doors when this happens because so few show up. After all, it’s far more important to see if the made-up Santa Claus brought me my new electronic gizmo than it is to actually worship the God of all creation.
This is utter nonsense. And the excuses given are nonsense as well. People will say that it’s about the baby Jesus. But again, is there anything in the Bible about worshiping the day (not the person of Christ) that He was born? We are to worship Christ. But not the day Christ was born or Christ in His infant form. We are to worship Christ, the risen King, who rose from the dead, not the baby in a manger.
Well, it’s about giving! This is the most lame excuse ever given. It is given as if somehow we become altruistic in our nature, as if we have somehow risen to a level of compassion toward our fellow man, that we are going to run up our credit-card debt in order to give trinkets to those in need. Nonsense. Christmas is not about giving, it’s about materialism, building our kingdoms, adding to our junk, fighting at the malls, lights, eating too much, getting more junk, complaining about not getting enough junk, sending and receiving mass-produced, prewritten Christmas cards, etc.
And where is any of this in Scripture? I read the Scriptures daily, and have done so for 25 years, but nowhere do I find Christmas, or Thanksgiving, and especially not the silliness of New Year’s Day.
I know that many who read this will not like what I’ve written. But if you have ears to hear, then do something about it. Start by revering the LORD’s day (Sunday). Set it apart in your heart as Christ calls us to do (He gave us the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. As the Second Person of the Trinity, He is the One who spoke the words to Moses and spoke creation into existence).
Use the day to worship as God has ordained for us to do so. Go to a church that truly preaches the gospel, in the fullest sense. In other words, if your pastor never speaks a word about hell, then leave, flee. As J.C. Ryle points out “the same sure word which holds out a heaven to all who repent and are converted, declares plainly that there will be a hell for all the ungodly.”
Maybe if we would quit placing importance on the peripherals and place importance on what God has told us to do from His word, we wouldn’t be so easily deluded into thinking these holidays are anything other than family celebrations at best and idolatry at worst.