What Makes a Holiday OR What Makes a day Holy?
I don’t know why I am surprised each year that the last two months seem to race along at breakneck speed. We come to this time of year that we commonly call the holiday season. Once fall hits the race toward Thanksgiving, Christmas and then the New Year seem to be quicker to me than many other times of the year.
It is great to have reasons to celebrate. I think it is wonderful to have a day in November to give thanks, and even to reflect upon its origin with the Pilgrims of Plymouth who were thanking God for their survival and for providing food. In our day we often feast, and there are other common traditions associated with family and friends. It is good to celebrate. Our Lord enjoys celebrations. After all, his first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana. Let us also remember to give thanks more than one day out of 365.
After thanksgiving we look forward to Christmas and the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. I am already looking forward to our caroling party, singing to those in our community of this wondrous gift of Jesus Christ.
I looked up the word “Holiday” on Wikipedia and found the following, “The concept of holidays often originated in connection with religious observances. The intention of a holiday was typically to allow individuals to tend to religious duties associated with important dates on the calendar. In most modern societies, however, holidays serve as much of a recreational function as any other weekend days or activities.” Wikipedia is not accurate in all things, but I found this very helpful to distinguish that holidays used to have a connection in religious observances, but in modern societies that isn’t always the case.
There are those who give great thanks to God on Thanksgiving and those who don’t. The same can be said of Christmas or any other days on which we may choose to celebrate, even birthdays. I think in our modern world using a loose definition of a holiday as, “a day set aside for a special purpose,” is probably as accurate as we can get.
In the Old Testament the people of God had various Holy-Days that were set aside by God for the purpose of worship and to point the way to Jesus Christ. All but one of those days have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ for we no longer celebrate the feasts and festivals that showed forth our redemption.
However, we do still have one Holy-Day that is commanded by God that we keep. Exodus 20:8, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Although the various Holy-Days of the Jews have ended, the fourth commandment remains. Today, as believers in Jesus Christ we have 52 Holy-Days that are commanded by God that we keep.
Celebrate Thanksgiving next Thursday. Celebrate the Birth of Christ in December and His resurrection in the Spring. Those are wonderful things to do and they can built us up in our faith. But, much to our chagrin, if we look forward to Christmas or Easter far more than we look forward to this one day in seven that God has given us for our good to give us a glimpse of what heaven will be like with His people, we are doing it wrong. 52 Holy-Days are commanded by God and others can be a blessing, but according to God’s Word, the others are optional.