I realize this blog post may seem a little late, as the holidays have just passed. But don’t forget, we have Valentine’s Day, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries, ect. just around the corner. Holidays are celebrated throughout the year, not just towards the end.
Anyhow, I have a co-worker who is a Jehovah’s Witness. Yes, I realize the irony, of all my co-workers in Utah being LDS, except one, and she’s a JW. I asked her, weeks back, if she’d be attending our work Christmas party. She explained that she wouldn’t because her religion does not celebrate holidays or birthdays.
At the time I did not ask her why, I knew from a previous relationship with a JW that it has something to do with idolatry. Celebrating a birthday is putting the person on a pedestal that belongs only to Jehovah, etc.
As I’ve thought about this more and more, it’s made me angry. Angry that a religion would take away a family’s excuse for spending quality time together and making memories. When I think about Christmas, yes my family celebrates the birth of Christ. We are a Christian family and we teach our children the traditional Christmas story. However, at the same time we use the season to also just celebrate family, togetherness, love, joy, etc. On Christmas day we planned on opening up presents and then just playing, all day with the kids. (It was hijacked by illness, but I digress.)
Think about it. God instituted special days for the Israelites. When something significant happened God would set apart those days (Passover), or He’d have the people build some type of memorial (crossing the Jordan river Joshua 4) so that future generations would see it (or celebrate the day) and REMEMBER what He did for them, the people.
Celebrating Christmas is about remembering that God sent his son to us, as a baby, as a human. Easter is about remembering that Christ died on the cross for our sins and, overcoming death, rose from the grave, so that we too could spend eternity in the presence of God in Heaven. The 4th of July is about remembering that God granted our country independence. Birthdays are about remembering the people God has put in our lives, especially when it’s our children’s birthdays. What a blessing those days represent. Anniversaries help us to remember that God gave us a spouse, to love us, that we may love, to help us live out the analogy of Christ and the church and to teach us that we’re more sinful and in need of grace than we may have thought.
But, I don’t think we should stop there. We should do the same thing the Israelites did. When something significant happens in our families’ lives we should commemorate that day with a special family holiday. For instance, our family should celebrate November 24th, the day Lydia’s adoption was finalized. Or a day (I forget the exact day) in August that our house in Ohio FINALLY sold. Over four years ago, that house selling at that timing, was significant to the way God lead and moved in our family. We should celebrate it and remember that story. We should use the special family holiday to remind and teach our children of the way that God provided for our family before they were even born.
Sure, holidays can be very self-centered. But they don’t have to be. If we remember to put God at the center and thank Him for giving us special days to remind us of the special blessings He has given us, than they are God-glorifying. Taking special days to spend time with your family is God-glorifying.
So remember that holidays/special days are a God-given opportunity to celebrate and a time remind yourselves and teach your children how God has blessed you and your family.