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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Holy days and holidays

Posted Thursday, December 22, 2011, at 12:39 PM

"Christmas is the main event for ministers, isn't it? ... Kind of your day to shine, right?"

I don't know why, but the question took me off guard. I know it wasn't meant in any way other than to enhance the conversation, but it stayed with me a few days.

I started examining -- the best I could -- my own actions and attitudes. Have I acted as if Christmas was my "special day" as a minister? Did I see Christmas as "my day to shine"? Have I gotten drawn into the "holier-than-most-days" concept of what this holiday really means?

After much self-examination and reflection, I think I can honestly say that I really don't think I see the Sunday closest to Christmas or Easter Sunday as my days to shine -- or my days to be something special; something that I am not the other 50 Sundays of the year.

Then I wondered if we -- the church -- may have gotten so good at declaring the holiness of observances such as Christmas and Easter that we have forgotten to tell the world that every day is Christmas and Easter to the believer, just as every day is a day of thanksgiving and praise to the Holy One.

Sometimes, to the casual observer, it may look that way. Churches seem to draw bigger crowds around Christmas and Easter. They plan special events and services and concerts and a cantata or two to coincide with the celebrations of Jesus' birth and His resurrection. Believers buy special outfits and wear certain clothes on these days. In my opinion, we have just gotten a little too carried away. And at the risk of sounding judgmental, I think we may have been co-opted by the world and its systems.

Let's face it, some churches have a tendency to follow the lead of the world instead of setting the pace and direction for society. There seems to be a kind of "if you can't beat 'em - join 'em" mentality. Some churches have even started making a big deal out of Halloween, which is about as far from a holy day as you can get.

Yes ... Christmas is a big deal and a very special day. And so is Resurrection Sunday. But to the believer -- they shouldn't be any more special than the third Sunday in February and the second Tuesday in March and the fourth Friday in April.

The light from the manger pointed straight to the cross and to the empty tomb. And because of the manger, the cross, and the empty tomb, all days are special days -- holy days -- for those who believe.

Merry Christmas.



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Bob Stewart is pastor of Union Baptist Church. His long-running column ranges in topic from matters of faith to observations about life in Saline County, politics and the sights to see in travels throughout America.
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