O B S E R V I N G O F D A Y S
A letter was received one time about observing Christmas day, and spoke of "a pagan origin" of it, the worldly celebrations, and the fact that God asked us to remember Christ's death, but not concerning His birth. A brief reply was sent acknowledging that is somewhat so; and also the following paper was attached for some consideration (see also Rom.14:5-6). -- R. DeWitt: SS34; 12/96; rev. 09/17
Christian faith is much "to thyself before God" (Rom.14:22) in spirituality, while Church truth speaks mostly to a collective testimony. If a work or action is our Christian faith before God it should not detract from the Holy Scriptures and the doctrines committed unto us. We surely must not compromise the truth. It says, however, the child of God must have liberty of conscience before the Lord; that is to do things according to faith and not to be ceremonial, or be bound by the conscience of another (Col.3:23-25).
The reference by the apostle, Paul, in the epistle to the Galatian saints as to observing days, ought to be understood in the context of the whole epistle. These saints of God tended to legalize the faith. They were mixing the liberty in Christ with the law and ordinances of Israel in the past, and requiring ceremonies and binding the conscience of believers. They were setting forth days, months, and years to keep, as did Israel. The apostle corrected them. We must not go beyond Scripture and seek to set rules for all manner of life.
This introduces the matter of keeping or observing any special days. The faithful believer observes the first day of the week as the Lord's Day, as shown to us. We thus remember the Lord in His death and resurrection (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 15:17). No other days are given for the collective testimony to keep, but another day is not forbidden for the saints.
Consider that if one is employed and the world stops work for a special day, the child of God has a free day. If the religious world seeks in any measure to make it a day of honor to the Lord, let us be glad (I Sam. 2:30), and take advantage of it to be a witness. Does one choose to praise the Lord and enjoy a feast day together? Let it be done "heartily, as to the Lord" (Col.3:23). In the New Testament one is exhorted to even invite the disadvantaged people (Luke 14:12-14) ---and might we not at least give good gifts to the poor in Jesus' Name?
The joy of the Lord should fill our hearts always, and a special day of thanksgiving with reading of the Word is surely pleasing to the Lord---regardless of traditions or what others do. If we can impress the children with the majesty and glory of Christ at the holiday, have a time of fellowship, a feast, and give thanks, it can honor the coming of the Lord (Luke 2:14-15). It does not take away from God's Word. We might join with family and friends to rejoice and remember the Lord's coming into this sad world; and remember His sacrifice, blessings and care, and thereby be a testimony and spiritually enriched. The children might also help to send out greeting cards to witness to friends. What a privilege it is to be part of "a light that shineth in a dark place"! Let us bring every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Cor. 10:5), and glorify Him.
We should not do as the world, and join in their merriment and occupation with fantasy, and we ought to avoid a vain show for the flesh, but let us allow conscience before the Lord to praise Him (see II Sam. 6:14-23; Rom. 14:5-6). Let us seize every opportunity to exalt our blessed Savior, remember His coming, and teach the children well (John 3:16). One need not spend all his energy in opposing the world, but be a light shining in the darkness for Christ.
If we understand Paul's ministry to the Galatian saints, it is to not return to the "beggarly" principles and bondage (Gal.4:9). We who are the children of God live by faith and walk in the Spirit. Paul said: "Are ye so foolish, having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal.3:3). We are delivered from the law and flesh to honor the Lord in all things. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Gal.5:1).
In closing these remarks, this writer has said before and continues to allow, that one might well pause on a day the world holds to remember the birth of Jesus Christ and give emphasis to the fact that "unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given" (Isa.9:6) ---"the Prince of peace" and Hope for the world. Saints of God might read with their family and friends the account in Luke, chapter two, on the special evening set. It is of no consequence that we do not know the date of the birth of Jesus Christ, but if the world in any measure sets a day to honor the coming of the "Savior of the world" ( 1 John 4:14), that is profitable---forbid them not. Professing believers in Christ must stand resolutely against the fantasies, and tell forth the glory of God in Christ Jesus. Saints of God can surely allow the special day to remember the coming of HOPE from God to this poor world, and even seize the moment to be a good witness, without participating in the folly." - RLD