Since the man-made celebration of Christmas fell on the Lord's Day this past year, I thought it would be helpful to our congregation to speak on the subject, and I did so on the Lord's Day eveing prior to the 25th. I believe that there is much more to say on the subject, but I have tried to put forth principles by which we can think through this session. The lecture is availible to listen to here:
I believe that you can celebrate and take part in some of the festivities of this seasonal time in a non-religious manner, without violating either the general principles of the Word nor the RPW. Outside of the church and on a personal level, we as a church do allow for latitude in our people's involvement and participation. We have attendees who are adamantly opposed to any participation at all, and we have others that are some-what inclined to be involved at differing levels. Since it is outside of the worship of God, we do not think that the RPW is the question at this point, but rather the more broad principles of God's Word. We all agree that Xmas has pagan and Papist origins, but also believe that things can outgrow their origins and become removed to the point of becoming adiaphora. As I alluded to in the John 10:22-23 teaching, 1 Cor. 10 seems to be a helpful passages in navigating these issues. The meat under consideration was killed and became meet by way of pagan sacrifices to idols. Yet Paul is teaching that it is just meat to Christians. If it is an issue of stumbling a brother or in the eyes of some who really consider it sacrificial meat...do not partake. While much of the festivities of this season began in the same way as the meat in 1 Cor. 10, they are not evil in and of themselves ( e.g. taking time off work, giving gifts, family get-togethers, feasting, etc.). Along these lines then, we grant latitude to one another and seek each others edification. These are the principles that guide our actions on this matter outside of the congregation and worship. We do not understand the entire season to be a man-made religious holiday...in fact we do not acknowledge it as a 'religious holiday'. As I mentioned in the teaching it is viewed more as 'happy' time...not 'holy' time.