Thought - Christian Holidays Sidelined
Last weekend was Easter weekend and many sites today had news items related to how Easter holidays are changed into Spring Bunny. On Easter Sunday, Google chose to honor an iconic figure on its front page –called the "doodle"– which of course is viewed by millions around the world. Many would have expected that figure to be Jesus, or perhaps something related to Easter.
"Merry Christmas" is no more valid and its "Happy Holidays". I heard a story that someone who came to US from a different country was asked to go for counselling because he was again and again using "Merry Christmas" and its offensive. Good Friday is no longer a holiday. It's a holiday in a country like India but I worked on that day in US. I don't want to elaborate on these points since it's a well known fact and my focus in this post is something different.
So as a Pastor and as a Christian what should I do? Am I concerned? Am I worried that when my son grows up, Easter and Christmas will not be a holiday?
Before I answer all these questions let me share something here. When I became a real Christian, I was in a place where Christianity is in minority and it still is. Also my church was against celebration of Christmas and Easter. They argued that these two holidays has pagan origins and it was not celebrated in first century church. There are lot of materials on this subject and I don't want to elaborate here. I still believe that its true. Then I used to observe these days for others. It was a good time to share the message and love of Jesus with others. I just wanted to inform my readers that every Christian in the world does not celebrate it the way it is shown in television and other places.
So what should I do if Christian holidays are taken out from public life? I think this will do good for Christianity in long run. We will have to emphasize the gospel and resurrection every Sunday. I believe that's important since Sunday worship concept has its origin with resurrection day. As a Pastor I will have to make sure that important aspects of gospel is proclaimed through out the year and not only on some occasions. When church started on the day of Pentecost, there was no holidays to mark any event. Holy Spirit had a big part to play and church grew. You take any nation where there is persecution and opposition, churches grow and quality is really high. I have personally seen that quality of churches under persecution and opposition is much better than churches in prosperous environment. Commitment level of people is different. Miracles and demonstration of God's power happens more often since people are hungry and they can't depend on government or anyone for safety.
I still remember the day when I was in India and an uneducated village women came to me after a meeting and asked me to pray so that God will give her grace to get up early at 5:00 AM so that she can pray. In US, no one has asked me to specially pray so that they will grow spiritually.
I think gospel message becomes very dangerous and effective when it is opposed. Opposition brings a different dimension which cannot be explained but can only be experienced. History is witness to that and I believe it is because it is the 'Word of God' and no man can challenge or stand against God.
No political or man's agenda can stand against God's agenda of saving man through His son Jesus Christ. The Bible says that God so loved that world that He gave his son Jesus Christ. Holiday or no holiday, gospel message will continue to penetrate nations and people's heart. If name is changed or not, the message of cross will still appeal sinners.
So am I worried? No way! When apostasy and opposition increase, I believe God's time is coming to show His power. I can look forward for the move of Holy Spirit in this land also.
I am not worried if Easter and Christmas holiday will remain when my son grows up. My concern is to make sure that I pray and teach him the importance of the message of cross so that he will be a disciple of Jesus irrespective of circumstances. With the current situation, I believe that opposition and persecution for faith will make him more committed and strong Christian, provided the gospel message makes an impact in his life.
I believe opposition and persecution will increase the quality which we badly miss now. We won't have any namesake believers who use God's name to justify their life style and compromise in every aspect of life.
So looking at the bigger picture, I am hopeful and excited!