Here we go. There’s a ton of blog talk right now about why many churches are closing their doors on December 25th this year. The last time Christmas landed on a Sunday was 1994 (and I think I remember going to church that year on Christmas Day). Many say it is a travesty that the doors are closed since it is a Sunday and it is also the second most important Christian holiday (second only to Easter). If churches usually meet on Sunday, why close it on such a “high holy day”? The critics say that churches are bowing to consumerism and the need for families to open presents around a tree.
Others, though, say that no day should be regarded as more holy than another. And each person should make up their own mind about how important they make holidays (see Romans 14 in the Bible). Furthermore, there is talk that family time is a time of worship for many Christian families, so why assume that churches are restricting worship just because they meet on Saturday night?
This is Tradition versus Tradition. There is the Tradition of the church meeting on Sunday, the Lord’s Day. This is the first day of the week, the day Jesus rose from the dead (although I’m not sure if the Gregorian calendar can prove that Jesus did in fact rise on a Sunday). All we know is that he arose on the third day, and we remember his crucifixion on a Friday.
I side with the second view – that it’s OK to celebrate Christmas as a church on Saturday and with your family on Sunday. For a good explanation of the first view, see Ben Witherington’s blog (www.benwitherington.blogspot.com). Go to Ben’s Dec 4th blog. For someone who supports the second view, see Scot McKnight’s Blog (www.jesuscreed.org). Go to his Dec 8th blog. Tell me your thoughts.
ps-there will be some juggling information on here someday!
There must be a greater reason than just literary structure and clarity as to why more copies of the Bible have been purchased and published around the world in plenty of languages.
I must quote a book I have been reading for class recently. It is called The Mystery of God’s Word by Raniero Cantalamessa. The title doesn’t sound too enthralling at first glance. And the author is far from your typical American Evangelical. This guy, Raniero, has been the Pastor to the Papal Household since 1980. That’s right, he’s the Pope’s Pastor.
Listen to this from Cantalamessa:
“In the world at large and even within the Church there have been and there will be better books than some books in the Bible – of greater literary refinement and, religiously speaking, more edifying (suffice it to mention The Imitation of Christ) – yet none of these produces the effect that the most modest of the inspired books produces…In Tales of a Russian Pilgrim, we read of many people being cured of the vice of drinking, thanks to their having kept a resoluton to read a chapter of the gospel whenever they felt the compulsive need for a drink coming on. Recommending the practice to one such, a monk said, ‘In the very words of the Gospel there is life-giving power, for in them is written what God himself has uttered. Never mind if you do not understand it properly; it is enough if you read carefully. If you don’t understand the Word of God, the demons certainly do understand what you are reading, and they tremble.'” (Reniero Cantalamessa, The Mystery of God’s Word [Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1994], pp. 13-14).