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Thursday Theology.

The observance of Christmas was shunned by the Puritans. What happens now is that we have a Christmas celebration early — it was last Sunday — and it is a point of evangelizm, and then Midnight service. This is pragmatism. No day is more holy than another, and the use of the church calendar is one of those htings without any virute. Calvin walked a middle ground.

He knew it was good to get people reminded of Christ. I don’t think people preach like this much, in this fallen time. Calvin was content to let the teeth of the commercial people, the merchants of the empire of nothing, grind.

Now, I see here today more people that I am accustomed to having at the sermon. Why is that? It is Christmas day. And who told you this? You poor beasts. That is a fitting euphemism for all of you who have come here today to honor Noel. Did you think you would be honoring God? Consider what sort of obedience to God your coming displays. In your mind, you are celebrating a holiday for God, or turning today into one but so much for that. In truth, as you have often been admonished, it is good to set aside one day out of the year in which we are reminded of all the good that has occurred because of Christ’s birth in the world, and in which we hear the story of his birth retold, which will be done Sunday. But if you think that Jesus Christ was born today, you are as crazed as wild beasts. For when you elevate one day alone for the purpose of worshiping God, you have just turned it into an idol. True, you insist that you have done so for the honor of God, but it is more for the honor of the devil.

Let us consider what our Lord has to say on the matter. Was it not Saul’s intention to worship God when he spared Agag, the king of the Amalekites, along with the best spoils and cattle? He says as much: ‘I want to worship God.’ Saul’s tongue was full of devotion and good intention. but what was the response he received? ‘You soothsayer! You heretic! You apostate! You claim to be honoring God, but God rejects you and disavows all that you have done.’ Consequently, the same is true of our actions. For no day is superior to another. It matters not whether we recall our Lord’s nativity on a Wednesday, Thursday, or some other day. But when we insist on establishing a service of worship based on our whim, we blaspheme God, and create an idol, though we have done it all in the name of God. And when you worship God in the idleness of a holiday spirit, that is a heavy sin to bear, and one which attracts others about it, until we reach the height of iniquity. Therefore, let us pay attention to what Micah is saying here, that God must not only strip away things that are bad in themselves, but must also eliminate anything that might foster superstition. Once we have understood that, we will no longer find it strange that Noel is not being observed today, but that on Sunday we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper and recite the story of the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. But all those who barely know Jesus Christ, or that we must be subject to him, and that God removes all those impediments that prevent us from coming to him, these folk, I say, will at best grit their teeth.

1 reply on “Thursday Theology.”

I’ve been all over the map on this issue, but I’ve landed on
1) I love Christmas
2) God frequently commands feasts in the OT. He seems to enjoy a good communal party.
3) I know perfectly well that Jesus was not born on 12/25, and I don’t teach my children that. I do read the Christmas story in the Bible and reflect on Christmas Eve, and I enjoy Christmas Eve services (music!) but no sheep wandering around outside in Israel in December. Too cold.
4) I hope that every day of my life involves worshiping our Lord.
5) It is a total pain in the butt to start a communal feast off-cycle of the popular feasting times without a community committed to helping out. Ah, the odd looks and the, “what is she up to now” nods of the head… I have a stack of those t-shirts!
So… I do Christmas. 🙂 And there are stockings and eggnog and chocolate and I have a good time and I hope that others do as well. 🙂
Given that on Monday I’m traveling to be with the family and we have paid for a Christmas Lunch, then a Christmas dinner, I’m thinking of taking Kea and her (very Anglican mother) to midnight mass.
Yes, I celebrate Christmas. As did Calvin.

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