Tag Archives: Christmas

Holidays and Holy Days (Part 2)

The following article is a guest post by Dr. Michael LeFebvre, Pastor of Christ Church in Brownsburg, Indiana, author of Singing the Songs of Jesus: Revisiting the Psalms, and Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Board President. 

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Several years ago, I wrote a post for Gentle Reformation called “Holidays and Holy Days” (link here). In that article, I described the roots of the Christian Calendar—including holidays like Easter and Christmas—in the Levitical holy days of the Old Testament. The point of that article was to explain why some churches like the RPCNA uphold the Lord’s Day Sabbath (which the New Testament continues to exhort) while not observing extrabiblical holy days like Christmas. The New Testament does not institute Christmas as a holy day, and in fact the Old Testament Levitical festivals (on which the “Christian Calendar” was based) have been discontinued in the New Testament. With due respect for the sincerity with which many hold Advent worship services each December, there is actually significant reason to question the celebration of Christmas as a church holy day.

That being said, there is every good reason to affirm the place of Christmas in the calendar of American, civic holidays. And to celebrate it as a civic holiday (but […]

Revisiting the Manger

The following is a guest post from Dr. Michael LeFebvre, pastor of Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian in Brownsburg, Indiana.

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“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7, ESV)

This week is the time when society remembers the birth of Jesus, with nativity scenes popping up everywhere. The traditional scene of Mary and Joseph checking motels and finally bunking in a stable, is all based on the interpretation of one word in the above verse—a word which has probably been misunderstood in the motel-and-stable version of the story. The word in Luke 2:7 that is normally translated “inn” actually means “a lodging space.” This word can indeed refer to a public inn (as in Luke 10:34), but it often refers to the lodging room within a common house (as in Luke 22:11). Which does Luke have in mind in this verse: a public inn or the lodging space of a common house? Almost certainly the latter.

The reason Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem was because that was where Joseph’s family was from. That means Joseph had lots of […]

Holidays and Holy Days

Christmas is just a few weeks off. Most churches have Christmas trees up by now, and many ministers started their Advent sermon series this past weekend. Christmas–like Easter and the other holy days of the Christian calendar–has been so widely embraced by protestant churches, that not to incorporate them into the church worship schedule seems either strange or downright block headed.

I am one of those pastors who still believes the church should not include these holidays in the worship calendar. But I also don’t want to maintain that distinction in stubbornness or merely out of fondness for “old style presbyterianism.” So, I thought I’d take a couple of paragraphs–speaking for myself at least–to explain why I still believe this is a matter of biblical conviction.

First of all, there is one religious calendar that goes all the way back to the creation: the weekly religious calendar. God appointed the sabbath day as a religious day to be observed weekly. The Ten Commandments reaffirm that this weekly day of worship sets the cadence of life for God’s people. The New Testament also continues to call us to weekly sabbath (or, Lord’s Day) worship (more on this, later). The weekly religious calendar is biblical, and continues in […]