by Steve Hale
In last week's Mt. Juliet Messenger, we examined some significant considerations in the article "Concerning Christmas." We mentioned some of the positve aspects of the holiday, and how that no one would oppose such love and hospitality.
However, we also spoke of Christmas from a religious standpoint, and its literal meaning: "Christ+mass." The errors associated with such were listed in some detail. We spoke of how we must oppose these without hesitation.
Does that mean we must not do anything in regard to Christmas? Is any sort of celebrating worng? What about folks who realize the folly of "Christ+Mass" and simply want to remember the Lord on this holiday?
First, we do no know the date of our Lord's birth. Most Protestant and Roman Catholics celebrate it on December 25. Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate it on January 6. The Armenian church celebrates this event on January 19. None of these dates is found anywhere in the Bible. The first mention of December 25 is in the time of Constantine, about 325 A.D.
Second, it is never wrong to remember Jesus as long as such rememberance is consistent with Scripture. There are 365 days on the calendar for emphasizing all aspects of His life, from His birht all the way to the resurrection. The one day upon which we must celebrate is the first day of the week ( Acts 20:7).
The early church worshipped on this day ( Acts 2:1-4, 42), and observed the Lord's Supper, sang, prayed preached, and gave ( I Corinthians 16:1-3; Acts 2:42). After all, this was the day upon which our Lord arose ( Mark 16:1ff.)! This was the day upon which the early church worshipped. In fact, the church was established on this day ( Acts 2:1-4; Lev. 23:15-21).
Third, we must be very careful not to bind where the Lord has not bound, not loose where He has not loosed. It would be erroneous to observe "Christ=Mass," or anything perversive of Scripture thereof. But, if someone was simply remembering Jesus while not being in error, we should simply rejoice that he is centering on the Savior.
Paul said: "one man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth everyday alike, Let each man be fully assured in his own mind" ( Romans 14:5). While we must never teach error, neither should we make a law where the Lord has not made one. Thus, if one chooses to "esteem" December 25, this writer has no problem with it. He must not, however: (1) force others to observe it ( Romans 14:3-5); (2) teacher error in regard to it.
In like manner, the brother that shooses not to "esteem" December 25 must not: (1) force others not to observe it ( Romans 14:3-5); (2) bind where the Lord has not bound. As in all things, mutual love and understanding breeds unity. Here is a unique situation in which tow people of opposing views could both be right (as per Romans 14:1-6) or both could be wrong (in ignoring Romans 14:1-6).
Let love reign supreme! Happy Holidays!
January 1, 1989
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Mt. Juliet Church of Christ
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Mt.Juliet, TN 37122-0248
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