It is that time of year, again! As followers of Jesus, we naturally want to do what is right in the sight of God. Yet, we are flooded with blog posts and YouTube videos screaming one view or another. Each one is claiming to be based on the Word of God. Do you think it’s just about Halloween, Christmas and Easer? Think again!
I did a quick search on Google and discovered a Christian apologetic site had to tell visitors that it’s okay for Christians to celebrate a certain special day. What day may that be? Would you believe it’s the celebration of birthdays? Yes, it is true and it’s based on a couple of Bible verses.
Got Question is a respected apologetic site that gets some of the most interesting questions. I’m sure the one about birthdays isn’t the only one. You can read “Should Christians Celebrate Birthdays?” on their site. Thankfully, they did more than say “It’s okay to celebrate your birthday.” They provided some guidelines that is rooted in Scripture.
30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks?31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.1 Corinthians 10:30-31 NASB ’95
How is this related to celebrating a holiday or any special day? The answer lies in the above set of Bible verses. In whatever we do, it is important that we glorify God. It’s done by the simple giving of thanks for God is the one who created us in our mother’s womb. Birthdays are also a celebration of life and it something God does value.
Here’s what is in Philippians 4:8:
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:8-9 NASB ’95
The celebration is always a good thing and it has the potential to encourage reflection on things past. It’s a great way to invite God to come and heal your heart and to give thanks for what he has done. The potentials for good things to come is great. There is also the reality that life is fleeting and it is an opportunity to turn to God and seek Jesus.
Wait a second! What about holidays? What biblical guidelines exist for Halloween, Christmas, Easter and so forth? Let’s start with Halloween and I’ll start with a question asked in a book by Ray Bradbury. Sadly, many Christians have something in common with the children in that book.
It’s just a day for kids to dress up and get free candy. Do you know what I learned from the movie version of that book? Ray is not the only one who pointed to the problem. It’s all about the human fear of death and the unknown. It’s also a day given over to the celebration of the dead. I’m sure there is more to it; however, I’m sure you get the idea.
Here’s what the Word of God says about reclaiming such holidays and it is worth heeding. Though we are not under the Law, we are still in need of guidance in making right choices in what celebrate. Keep in mind, the part about celebrating birthday was not a rabbit trail.
6 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.John 14:6
Why would I celebrate a holiday dedicated to death, if Jesus is the way, the truth and life? God is also our light and God’s Word are a lamp for our feet? It’s also because of Jesus that we need not fear death. For Jesus has risen and conquered death, hell and the grave.
Since we are called to be children of the Light then we shouldn’t celebrate this day. Rather, we should see the truth of this holiday as an opportunity to share the Gospel. Keep in mind, you are talking to children; not mature Christians. Either turn off your light or prepare to share the Gospel.
What about those other holidays? I’m talking about Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. For many Christians these are sacred holidays. and worth celebrating. I have a question for you. Do you know why Christians celebrate these three holidays? For the non-believers, it is just a holiday and an excuse to eat and spend money they don’t have.
If done in moderation, it’s perfectly fine. For these days have nothing to do with the celebration of death or living in fear and anxiety. For Christians, we need to go deeper. I am talking about the focal points for each of these days.
Here are some helpful Scriptures to help you in making the right decision:
16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The above advice came from Paul. It’s always a good idea to seek God and ask Jesus about any holiday. It applies to both national holiday and holy holiday. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in what is correct for you. A recovering alcoholic will likely be convicted to abstain from celebrating New Year’s day because of the drinking. Another Christian may not get that instruction.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:19-23
What is the point of the above set of verses? It pays to ask both yourself and God, “What is being sewn here?” Though we are not under the Law, it helps to know there is a reason the Bible warns us about sowing to our natural self or flesh. It is not to keep you from having fun. Rather, it’s to keep you away from a nasty fall into trouble.
What harm? I would suggest sincerely asking God about the warnings he is giving you. Talk to Jesus about it since God is the one saying it. Just know that God will not contradict His Word. In the case of cultural conflict, I would definitely seek God.
As followers of Jesus, we are not called to be like everyone else. For we have been taken out of the kingdom of Darkness and brought into the Kingdom of Light. As such, we are going to be seen as weird and it’s okay. Here’s what Paul says in Ephesians.
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),Ephesians 5:7-9 NASB ’95
The above is easy to quote and challenging to live out. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is constantly at work in our heart and teaching us the right way to celebrate the holidays. Don’t be discouraged if you stumble. It happens. It’s your response that get attention.
I hope this article helps. If you’d like some extra reading, here is another one from Got Questions. It’s called “Should Christians Celebrate the Holidays”.