Keep in mind my point: it’s okay for those who choose so, to celebrate the birth of Jesus even in December and it’s wrong to judge them for it. I will share some thoughts now on why I don’t believe it is wrong. Next post will be more positive, why I do take advantage of the season.
The Apostle Paul was concerned about the Galatian churches and expressed that fear. One thing that bothered him was that they were “observing special days and months and seasons and years.” Well, there you have it. The Bible condemns celebrating any holy day/holiday. I have heard this verse used against Christmas.
But please consider the context: Paul was worried that they were preaching a different Gospel (1:6ff); Paul showed his acceptance by the Jerusalem (very Jewish) church (1:18–2:10); Paul even confronted a fellow Apostle about Jewish tradition and acceptance of the Gentiles (2:11-16); Paul spends much of the letter dealing with false teachers and teachings who were trying to enforce the Law on Christians. They were placing their hope of salvation in obedience to the Law of Moses. They thought they were saved by circumcision, Sabbath-keeping, etc. That’s the situation and the context of 4:10
Paul’s statement was not a blanket prohibition by God against any and all special days. How can we be sure? Paul did write some other stuff………….
In a book on unity and a discussion on accepting those with different opinions on “disputable matters,” Paul says in verses 5-6, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord.” He emphasizes over and over not to judge and includes topics like drinking wine and eating meat along with celebrating special days. You should go read the rest. And read it often.
So, technically, if I wanted to have a steak from a cow that had been sacrificed to Vishnu, with a bottle of Chianti on December 25 while celebrating the birth of Jesus, you would be on shaky ground to judge me.
Purim is the Jewish celebration that originated in the story of Esther, when the Jews were almost wiped out but were given permission by her husband, the Persian King, to fight back. The book is included in the Old Testament but does not mention the name of God or specifically mention what God was doing behind the scenes. We see the great faith of one of his daughters and a son.
Hannukah/Feast of Dedication originated around 165 B.C. It was after a terrible time of persecution when an evil king defiled the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar and spreading pork broth all over the place. After the people rose up, led by Judas Maccabees, and defeated these Syrian/Greeks, they cleansed the temple and rededicated it. This all took place between the end of the Old Testament writings and the birth of Jesus and can be read about in the Apocryphal books 1 and 2 Maccabees.
The really interesting part? Jesus seems to have partaken in the celebration in John 10:22. He DEFINITELY was NOT avoiding a “non-inspired,” “man-made” religious day just because all the other Jews were taking part in it. He was at the temple.
Israel had numerous celebrations in the OT. God gave them the big 3 annual feasts and there were others. Some were ordained by God, others were allowed.
The New Testament allows for believers to consider some days as special, and it’s not talking about birthdays. The Bible also warns and condemns those who try to enforce observance of any holy day on believers.
God is a God who celebrates, who throws parties, and feasts with His People.
We need to chill about trying to stop or judge others who want to give God glory and praise.
Worship can include non-commanded things. If not, the woman who anointed Jesus’ body with oil would have been condemned by Jesus. Instead, Jesus defended her when others complained about it (John 12). In Luke 7, her sins are forgiven (could be a different woman/occasion).