“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike… The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord… For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end, Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” (Romans 14)
As we approach the CHRISTmas season – with its lights and tinsel, trees and manger scenes –
and having just come through the Fall Season – with its pumpkins and festivals, treats and turkey –
I am thankful that IN CHRIST we are free from the need to “quarrel over opinions” (Romans 14) about days and seasons. And I love what Paul goes on to say in Romans 15. In fact, he preaches a little CHRISTmas sermon right in the middle of his “don’t be overly judgemental” sermon :), and pulls his text from the OT prophecies.
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.
As it is written,”Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name.”
And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”
And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol Him.”
And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even He who arises to rule the Gentiles; in Him will the Gentiles hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Rejoice. Hope. Peace. Believe…..
All of these have become CHRISTmas words. Even now as I look at my CHRISTmas tree, I see these words hanging on the branches of our tree in the form of ornaments. I’m reminded that in every day and in every season, there is a reason to celebrate our LORD and the salvation we have in Him.
I like what John Piper said about participating in the CHRISTmas season/celebration:
I sympathize with those who want to be rigorously and distinctly Christian, who want to be disentangled from the world and any pagan roots that might lie beneath our celebration of Christmas … but I’m more concerned about a new paganism that gets layered on top of Christian holidays. Most of our days of the week—if not all—grew out of pagan names too. So should we stop using the word “Sunday” because it may have related to the worship of the sun once upon a time? In modern English “Sunday” doesn’t carry that connotation, and that’s the very nature of language. In a sense, holidays are like chronological language.
Christmas now means that we mark, in Christian ways, the birth of Jesus Christ. I think the birth, death and resurrection of Christ are the most important events in human history. I lived next door to somebody who didn’t celebrate birthdays. The idea was that all days were special for their kids. But if all days are special, then it probably means that there are no special days. Yet some things are so good and precious—like anniversaries, birthdays, and even deaths—that they are worthy of being marked. Even if the date of December 25 was chosen because of its proximity to some kind of pagan festival, let’s just take it, sanctify it, and make the most of it, because Christ is worthy of being celebrated in His birth.
I don’t want to spend my holidays and seasons “quarreling over opinions”. I want to live REJOICING in the LORD. As Christ followers, we can take the past, and what may have been meant for evil, and “sanctify” it – we can use our days to speak PEACE to our hurting communities, and to reach out to them with the love of God and the gospel of Jesus.
The root of Jesse has come … and in Him, there is HOPE for all who BELIEVE!
That’s a message for every season and every nation!