With apologies to Dr. Seuss a tag-team smack-down on Christmas.
First up Andrew Webb on the Building Old School Churches blog asks “Why Do Presbyterians Observe Holy Days?” (That’s where the excellent picture at the top of this page comes from.) There’s quite a lot to get through, but it is a thorough historical and theological essay which provides a comprehensive outline on the stresses between historic reformed theology and observing ‘holidays’ such as Christmas.
I think that Christians are free to gather and thank God for the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, but when we treat these days as binding observances on everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, or treat Christmas and Easter as more important that every Sunday, we are a long way away from our Biblical and theological roots.
At the Old Life website Darryl Hart wonders “When Did Reformed Christians Become Adventists?” As someone who grew up in a very ‘low church’ Presbyterian tradition the first time I saw someone lighting candles on an Advent Wreath I thought the whole reformation had been heaved out the door. While the situation has just a little more nuance than that, I am still bemused by the growing fascination with Advent and Lent among Christians who should know better.
R. Scott Clark references both essays at The Heidelblog with a brief post. There are comments that touch on aspects of both posts.
As Clark comments, the season is driven by sentimentality and consumerism. At some point Christians will realise they are fighting to preserve ‘the true meaning’ of something that God never told us to observe. We may end up just giving the whole thing back to the pagans.
But it doesn’t seem likely.