2008-09-30 - Shades of Gray ~ Holidays
Some people are holiday nuts, who festively celebrate and decorate for every occasion from birthdays to Christmas to St. Patricks Day. If you visit them, you may find upside-down trees, leprechauns on the lawn or scarecrows propped in the boat. Others feel that one day should be treated the same as another. And some of these folks base their traditions, or lack thereof, on what they believe is Gods will.
Some devout Christians believe that it is sacrilegious to even have a Christmas celebration at church, and in their homes, you will find no trees, lights or presents. Others, just as devout, express their love of Christ and their fellowman via their painstaking process of picking just the right present for someone, and by giving to those who lack material resources. These Christians see a half-full glass, and while not giving into the materialism themselves, enjoy holidays as they engender fellowship, hope and a charitable spirit.
Some Christians are adamant about having nothing to do with Halloween, and sincerely fear that the orange vegetables are Satanic on October 31st- while others have family fun by carving themed faces, putting on costumes and laughing at each other - and thankfully celebrating the harvest. In some denominations, there are churches who use All Hallows Eve as an opportunity to grown in appreciation of our spiritual mentors who are no longer with us (such as Calvin, Teresa of Avila etc.).
So what does the Bible itself actually teach us about special days? As with music, God allows us freedom of conscience. In Romans 14:5-6a, Paul instructs us, One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. If we consider it a gift from and celebration of God, family and friends - any holiday can be a holy day. Bottom line: We are to do what WE believe is right, and leave the judging to God (Matthew 7:1).
Next installment: Cremation
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