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Not "Holy"days

Author Unknown

Our Traditions

It is one thing to condemn other men's sins, but it is another to mend our own. The Galatians would probably have had no difficulty condemning the wicked Pharisees, but it is not so certain that they were willing to hear themselves condemned. Paul said to them: "am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16). The author of this article would ask the same question. Suppose I do say some things that "hurt" a bit. Suppose I do speak out against something sacred to you. Do I then become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

The truth is that Christmas (and Good Friday, and Easter, and Father's Day, and Mother's Day, and Children's Day, and any other "special holy day" except the weekly Sabbath) is an abomination to God. Now please note with care: we do not say that everything associated with these days is abominable. What we do say is that every special holy day (or season) is abominable to God.

Pagan Source

This is true, in the first place, because of the source of such. Let us consider Christmas as an example. It is admitted by Roman Catholics and Protestants alike that Christmas is not revealed in the Word of God. The Bible does not give us the date of Christ's birth. It does not even tell us the precise month or even the season. It is also generally admitted that there was no trace of Christmas observance in the Apostolic and post- Apostolic Church.

It was not until the third century that the celebration of Christmas began to appear in Christian circles, and even then there was no uniformity. Various dates were set for the "holy day" including January, March, April and May. To this day the Greek Orthodox Church observes January 6th rather than December 25th. When, under the growing authority of the Roman Bishop, December 25th was adopted in the west, it was largely an attempt to engage in competition with a pagan celebration called Saturnalia. It was a time of celebration, merrymaking and the giving of gifts. It was a pagan celebration in honor of the sun. They believed that the sun was a god, and that at this point it began to conquer over the darkness of winter. Gradually the Christian "holy day" and the pagan "holiday" coalesced into one. And the "tradition of Christmas" was firmly entrenched. On all this there is rather general agreement.

But there was a day in which Protestants and Roman Catholics disagreed strongly, not concerning what the source of Christmas (and other such holy days) was, but whether or not that source was valid. Then, as now, the Roman Catholic Church fully defended such man-made traditions, because, to quote its own words, "The Catholic Church has received from Jesus Christ the power to make laws for its members" (Baltimore Catechism). Among those laws we find the official designation of such "holy days" as Christmas and Easter, and such days are held by Roman Catholic dogma to be exactly the same as holy days designated by God himself.

There was, we repeat, a day when Protestants disagreed. There was a day when Protestants said that "the whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for (God's) own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture - unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men." (Westminster Confession of Faith, 1, 6). And concerning this matter of holy days, they said that the people of God are to keep holy "such set times as He has appointed in His Word, expressly one whole day in seven" (Larger Catechism, Q. 116). That is, the Sabbath day alone was regarded by them as "Holy."

Suppose you were to imagine yourself to have the notion that it would be nice to observe the 3rd of February as a special holy day in memory of Jesus' visit to the Temple at the age of twelve. What right would you have to make such a designation? What justification would others have in accepting your idea? And what if your Church said, "No, we will not listen to such nonsense! Jesus Christ alone is King and Head of the Church, and He alone has the right to designate a holy day, and He has given us to keep holy the Sabbath alone?" Of course you would say that such a Church was simply keeping itself pure. Yet the truth is that Christmas (and Easter, etc.) has no more warrant from Christ than would such a day that were chosen by yourself. The only difference is that tradition through the process of time, raises something of purely human origin to the place that it is highly esteemed of men. But it is still an abomination to God because of its source.

Distorting the Gospel

The second reason why such holy days are an abomination to God is that it is necessary to sanction error in order to give them our esteem. We shall again cite Christmas by way of example. If there were any possibility that the date of Christ's birth were preserved through tradition, then it would be January 6th rather than December 25th which deserved the preference. The Greek Church is an older institution than is the Latin. And if tradition has any validity, that validity depends upon antiquity.

Even if we were to appeal to the false criterion of tradition we would be condemned! However, as tradition is condemned by Scripture we can neither build upon it nor be judged by it.

Much more important is the fact that the celebration of Christmas (and other such humanly devised holy days) distorts the true gospel of Jesus Christ. By the special religious observance of certain days, certain aspects of the gospel are given a prominence which is not given them in the teaching of the Word of God itself. Christmas and Easter are the two "holy days" that claim an inordinate amount of attention each year, and so the birth and resurrection of Christ receive a measure of attention which other aspects of the truth do not receive.

This emphasis is not found in the Apostolic writings. For in all the epistles of the New Testament we can discover no explicit reference to the so-called Christmas story. The resurrection of Christ does constantly receive much emphasis, but there is also much emphasis in the Apostolic writings on events which took place on other days that men have not memorialized with special days. This is a distortion of the truth of the Gospel, and a distortion of the truth is not the same as the truth itself. Thus to approve of such holy days we must approve of that which must be called error.