Welcome: You Have Now Entered The Holiday Season

Experience tells us a holiday is frequently accompanied by social panic, financial insolvency, gastric disturbances, and familial discord. Good times!
on Nov 28, 2012 · No comments

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.)

“But,” you may say, “we’re not talking about God-ordained holidays here. We’re looking at Christless-mas and Satan Claus and all that nonsense. What’s a Christian supposed to do with that?”

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?

Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world. Her first novel, The Story in the Stars, debuted in June 2011 and is an ACFW Carol Award finalist in the Speculative Fiction category. Her second, Words in the Wind, released August 1, 2012. Two additional titles will complete this Gateway to Gannah series. She is contest administrator for Novel Rocket's Launch Pad Contest for unpublished novelists. You may follow her wise words on the blog YsWords, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.
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  1. Bainespal says:

    The origins of the holidays could be debated forever, but I think it’s pretty certain that the origins of Christmas and Easter are neither wholly Christian nor wholly pagan, but a mix that arose as Christianity influenced Western culture.
    But I don’t think we have to be ashamed of the pagan elements.  For Christmas, the celebration of the winter solstice meant a celebration of the rebirth of light as the darkest day of the year passed.  It’s fully appropriate that traditional Christian Christmas imagery should use light to represent Christ as the Light of the world, celebrating the glorious dawn that His historical birth brought, looking forward to the everlasting Day.
    The Jewish holidays ordained in the Bible are also intensely meaningful.  We could still celebrate them, to God’s glory, if we want to.  We could choose not to observe Christmas.  The days themselves do not matter.  I think that all days are the same.  The important thing is that we see the significance of God’s redemptive plan, and glorify Him for it.

  2. Galadriel says:

    Has anyone read C.S. Lewis’s essay “Exmas and Christmas?” It’s in his book God in the Dock, and here’s an online link if that’s simpler. It’s amazing how apt it is for modern celebrations.

  3. I don’t see the link, Galadriel, and I’d like to see it!
    Bainespal, I agree God neither requires us to celebrate certain holidays nor forbids our participation. We’re merely to recognize His working in our midst and celebrate it. Sometimes holidays can be useful in doing so, provided that’s our focus.

    • Got it, Galadriel – thanks – I was looking for something that looked like a link. Didn’t realize it was hiding in the message itself! (I’m quite the tech wizard, as you can see!)

What do you think?