To exit, keep moving forward. Sooner or later, you’ll get to the end.
Wikipedia tells us a holiday is a day designated as having special significance, often accompanied by celebrations or festivities.
Experience tells us it’s frequently accompanied by social panic, financial insolvency, gastric disturbances, and familial discord. Good times!
We Christians can (and do) debate aspects of the Christmas celebration until we froth. Like most of us, I’ve pondered these things in my heart at great length. In fact, for many of my adult years, I didn’t see the point of holidays in general. I considered all of them, not just Christmas, an annoyance. An imposition. An expensive interruption to my life.
A simple read-through of the Pentateuch, however, reveals that Jehovah God gives unusual significance to certain days of the year. Christians aren’t expected to keep the Old Testament feasts, but it’s important to note that God not only approves of holidays, but invented them.
For example, take the Bible’s first mention of a significant day: the sabbath. From the very beginning, God intended mankind to pause every seventh day and take a breather. It was designed as an opportunity to rest from the daily routine, to reflect on the past, and look forward to the future ultimate sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:9).
Like everything else God commands, all the Old Testament feasts were intended for the people’s benefit as well as God’s glory. Each commemorated a historical event (Passover, for instance) or accomplished an important purpose (like the Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur). Moreover, although the ancients didn’t realize it, each holiday looked forward to a future Messianic event that would ultimately consummate the feast. (Other sources discuss this as well, but for a clear and knowledgeable explanation, I recommend The Feasts of the Lord by Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal.)
We should ask God that question. I suspect the answer will look a little different for each of us. But while you consider the matter, remember that He left us in this world to reach the lost, and we’re not going to do that by being stand-offish.
Perhaps these holidays that are upon us, though man-created rather than God-ordained, can serve a purpose similar to the biblical Feasts of the Lord. They can give us an opportunity to climb out of the salt mine and take some fresh air. Give us a moment to reflect on the abundant grace God has given us. Cause us to rejoice in the promised blessings in Christ that await us.
While we’re at it, maybe we could share a little goodwill toward some of our fellowmen. And maybe, just maybe, someone might ask what we have to be so happy about in these dark days; that would be an opportunity to give a reason for the hope that’s within us (1 Peter 3:15).
Sounds like cause for celebration, don’t you think?