Trying to Get Rid of Holy Days for a Long Time

For real Christians it is clear that lovers of God should keep their hands of the many pagan feasts, like Christmas and Easter, which entered the Roman Catholic Church and several protestant churches.

Luckily we may come to see some changes in some protestant churches willing to debate the reason why to keep only to God given holy days.

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To remember

Reformed churches historically opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter.

on the continent left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions < compromise with stubborn people for sake of further Reformation, or because civil magistrates forced them to.

Gisbertus Voetius, (delegate to the Synod of Dordt), relates Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches,

In Why are Ecclesiastical Feast Days in our Church Order? Rev. Dr. R. D. Anderson gives

Article 65 – Ecclesiastical feast days
On Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Ascension Day, and at Pentecost the consistory shall call the congregation together for church services. The sacred events which the congregation commemorates in particular on these days shall therein be proclaimed
Already in 1573 we see the topic coming to the floor of the Particular Synod of North Holland, that year held in Enkhuizen.
Also decided in respect of feast days, that in common no feast days are to be held other than Easter (Sunday) and the day thereafter, Pentecost (Sunday) and the day thereafter, Christmas, and similarly New Year’s day and Ascension day.
The churches in South Holland were somewhat stricter. A year later their Synod gathered in Dordrecht
making the following pronouncement:
Respecting the feast days which are in addition to the Sunday: it has been decided to rest content only with the Sunday. Nevertheless, the normal material relating to the birth of Christ shall be handled on the Sunday before Christmas day together with an admonition to the people not to observe Christmas day. If Christmas day falls on a Sunday, the same material shall be preached on that day. It is also permitted to preach on the resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday, the which is left to the freedom of the ministers.
That seems clear enough. Behind the scenes, however, there was a political battle going on between the Roman Catholic forces and the Protestants. The celebration of these extra days came right in the middle of all that. It was the sort of thing that got people fired up. The Reformed churches needed to be careful to steer a righteous course between all manner of Roman Catholic superstitions which had become associated with these days and an over zealous extremism which could easily lead to political riots. We see that reflected in the decision of the Particular Synod of South Holland held in Rotterdam a year later:

As much as concerns feast days: The government shall be petitioned that they allow everyone to open his shop and to work 6 days in accordance with the 4th commandment of our Lord. And if the government desires to ordain any others besides the Sunday, the delegated ministers will petition parliament that they inform them in such a way that they may consider how much and how far one can permit in this matter, so that on the one hand people don’t fall into superstition as warned by Paul in Gal. 4, and on the other hand that people will not be led to fight too fiercely against the aforesaid government because of certain feast days.
Three years later a national synod was finally able to be held in Dordrecht. By this time it was slowly becoming clear that the political will to be rid of these extra feast days was weak.
On the 12th of July 1578 the government made a “declaration of religious freedom” in which the various Roman Catholic feast days were made compulsory for protestants. The synod in its response attempted to minimise the damage by steering the churches away from any special ways of celebrating these feast days, and keeping them as “normal” days.
1578 National Synod of Dort {Acta, Rutgers p.253 (art. 75, cap.4,23)}
It was indeed to be desired that the freedom from God to work 6 days be permitted in the church, and that only the Sunday be celebrated. Nevertheless since certain other feast days are maintained by authority of the government, namely, Christmas day and the day thereafter, likewise the day after Easter and the day after Pentecost and in some places new years day and ascension day; the ministers shall do their best to teach the congregation to transform unproductive and harmful idleness into a holy and profitable exercise by sermons especially dealing with the birth and resurrection of Christ, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and suchlike articles of the faith. The ministers of churches in those cities where yet more feast days are observed by authority of the government shall do likewise.
In the meantime all the churches shall work to make the use of all feast days except Christmas day (since Easter and Pentecost fall on Sunday) as normal as possible, and as soon as is fitting to abolish them.
By 1581 the goals of the churches had been reduced. It did not any longer seem possible to be rid of all the extra feast days.

 

Sadly, today, not only are many Reformed churches going back to observing Christmas and Easter, some are even beginning to observe Lent, Good FridayAdvent, etc. as well.

Exploring biblical worship from a Protestant Perspective “The Worship Blog” looks at

How little concern for the idea that what is done in the name of worship in so many churches has no warrant from the mouth of God! {About The Worship Blog}

Meg writes

The Scottish Presbyterians managed to remove observance of any pretended holy days other than the divinely prescribed Lord’s Day in their reformation. Indeed, the Reformed early on seemed ready to precede them in this; but due mostly it seems from desires of magistrates to preserve accustomed holidays, ie. days off for workers and servants, they retained various sets of days. This retained a set of other issues, and to ensure the riotous activities of the old days were not retained, the state churches prescribed that there be services and preaching at those times. {John Calvin and Holy Days}

In 1543–44 Calvin advised the church, that

“the observation of feast days was also to be rejected since it so easily led to superstition.”

“Calvin advised the ministers of Montbéliard to stand firm on these matters of principle but to yield wherever else their consciences would allow”. { Jill Raitt, The Colloquy of Montbéliard Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 21.}

As an aside — The Reformed church of Montbéliard continued as best they could even when the rulers imposed Lutheran practices. Later, the oppressed Reformed churches of France, ruled by Roman Catholic magistrates which prohibited working on the pretended holy days,

“left unto the prudence of Consistories to Congregate the People, on such Holy-Days, either to hear the word Preached, or to join in common publick Prayers, as they shall find to be most expedient” (2nd Synod of Vitré, 1617).

American Presbyterians were opposed to the religious observation of Christmas and other ‘holy days.’  > Read more: https://www.naphtali.com/articles/chris-coldwell/the-religious-observance-of-christmas-and-holy-days-in-american-presbyterianism/

Read also: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/91380-Three-Books-on-quot-Christmas-quot-and-a-33-off-Black-Friday-Sale, Comment 25

The Worship Blog

Purely Presbyterian:

Reformed churches have historically been opposed to observing man made holy days such as Christmas and Easter. Even the Reformed churches on the continent, which left some holy day observance to Christian liberty in some of their confessions, did so because of either compromise with the stubborn people for the sake of further Reformation, or because the civil magistrates forced them to. Gisbertus Voetius, a delegate to the Synod of Dordt, relates that the Dutch Church had been trying to get rid of holy days for a long time, but the allowance of holy days by the synod was “imposed from the outside, burdensome to the churches, in and of itself in an absolute sense unwelcome; to which Synods were summoned, compelled, and coerced to receive, bring in, and admit, as in the manner of a transaction, in order to prevent worse disagreeable and bad situations

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Thanksgivukkah and Advent

Having several Holy days around us we should consider why those days are special and deserve to be placed separate (holiness : being set apart).

Dedication and illumination

In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the ea...

In this Rosh Hashana greeting card from the early 1900s, Russian Jews, packs in hand, gaze at the American relatives beckoning them to the United States. Over two million Jews fled the pogroms of the Russian Empire to the safety of the U.S. from 1881-1924. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Jews have their eight day festival of Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, also called “Feast of the Maccabees“, in the Talmud principally known as the “Feast of Illumination.” But what is illuminated? Is it just about displaying eight lamps on the first night of the festival, and to reduce the number on each successive night, or to begin with one lamp the first night, increasing the number till the eighth night? Or is it only remembering the relighting of the altar-fire by Nehemiah due to a miracle which occurred on the twenty-fifth of Kislev?

A Ḥanukkah Lamp found in Jerusalem Excavations.(In the possession of J. D. Eisenstein) says:

“[We thank Thee] also for the miraculous deeds and for the redemption and for the mighty deeds and the saving acts wrought by Thee, as well as for the wars which Thou didst wage for our fathers in days of yore at this season.

Provider of light, waters, earth, plants and animals

Clearly it is not just only saying thanks for the wars having come to a good end. It is also a time to reflect on the Wonders of the Most High Adonai. Throughout history the Divine Creator God did not only provide the light of this world, the streaming waters, the food giving plants and the many animals which can be used as meat to get more strength.

In the days of the Hasmonean Mattathias, son of Johanan the high priest, and his sons, when the iniquitous kingdom of Greece [Syria] rose up against God  tried to make His people Israel forget God His Law and to turn them away from the ordinances of His Will. Taking this in mind we should notice that those adversaries of God (Satan) did not manage to get the people of God away from God. In God His abundant mercy He lifted them up. Those occupied with the Law of God could manage to get through all the troubles which came over them by the many years.

A blessing from the Jews

Not only the Jews should remember those blessings God gave to His people. By the deed of the only begotten son of God, the Jewish Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus Christ) salvation has come to other people people than the Jewish Judean people. Everybody has been called to follow Jesus the Messiah. He has been the greatest gift the Most High has given the world.

To say thanks for that gift and the many other blessings God has given this world many protestants feast Thanksgiving Day. This year they can celebrate their holy days with the Jews and give them also a stronger feeling of being respected as the Chosen People of our Creator. Certainly in this time of  growing anti-Semitism it is necessary that people are remembered of their special role those people do have in the Plan of God and world-peace.

Season of giving presents

Julius.jpg
Electric candle lights on the first Sunday in Advent

Catholics do like a lot of gifts and are also entering a season of gifts. This weekend they celebrate the beginning of Advent, looking forward to the ‘Light of God’. Following the Sunday of the Feast of Christ the King they have this weekend  Advent Sunday, starting a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus which they celebrate at Christmas. On the night of 5 to 6 December Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox Christians have Saint Nicholas bringing presents for the children. On the 24th and 25th of December they have their most special day of the year, being Christmas. Followed by the last day to give presents on the first day of the New Year, celebrating the circumcision of Jesus. That Feast of the Circumcision is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church on January 1 in whichever calendar (Old or New) is used, and is also celebrated on the same day by many Anglicans.

Advent wreaths are used to mark the passage of the season.

In the Advent Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, Presbyterian and Methodist believers think about the first and second coming of Christ. (Parousia ancient Greek word meaning presence, arrival, or official visit, is adventus in Latin.) Those Christians do look for the shining of their lord. That manifestation, striking appearance they also want to celebrate in the feast with that name epiphany (“appearing”) which they took from the Greeks who used ‘epiphaneia’ to describe the glorious manifestation of the gods, and by the Romans as a title for the Emperor. For them Christ Jesus is such a manifestation or appearance of a divine or superhuman being and a manifestation of the gods, being god the son, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

Passage of season

Like the protestants with their celebration of Thanksgiving, the Christians who celebrate the Advent remember the passage of the seasons and the special gift God has given the world. Both take it also as a time to meditate on the Works of God and how He is the Light in the dark, guiding us to the way to enter the Kingdom of God, by means of His only begotten son Jesus, the bringer of peace.

A godly mother

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9e/Paolo_de_Matteis_-_The_Annunciation.jpg/330px-Paolo_de_Matteis_-_The_Annunciation.jpg
Annunciation by Paolo de Matteis, 1712. The white lily in the angel’s hand is symbolic of Mary’s purity in Marian art.

The Catholic religion follows the Roman theology presenting Christ his mother as the Venus, the yielding, watery female principle, essential to the generation and balance of life. The annunciation to Mary (Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord) is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, marking an Incarnated God and having her as the mother of god or the Venus who embodies sex, love, beauty, enticement, seduction, and persuasive female charm among the community of immortal gods.

Having Jesus an incarnation, he fitted Hermes the god of transitions and boundaries, intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife. A bringer of presents he symbolises also Mercury, the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages/communication (including divination), and travellers who will show the way to himself as the most important god.

Like Turms was the equivalent of Roman Mercury and Greek Hermes, both gods of trade and the messenger god between people and gods, Jesus is now celebrated as the divine messenger and god having come down on the earth to save his people.

Bringer of peace

When we look at the description of Jesus in Catholic theology books we clearly can see the superposition of the man born in Bethlehem on the Greek and Roman gods. Having him as Bringer of peace also fits those pagan gods, but we do know that the Real and Only One God told His people to bring a messenger of peace. Lots of Jews did also expect to find in the Nazarene Jeshua (Jesus) to find their liberator or the Messiah who could get rid of the Roman oppressor.

These days we should think of that messenger who brought ‘Grace’ and liberated us not from Romans or any other government literally, but liberated us spiritually and gave us a hope for a better future. That Nazarene Jew is the man of flesh and blood who offered himself so that we would receive space to develop ourselves in the liking of the Creator. By him we should be able to find the way to see the space of all creativity, the connection to the Divine. Many still keep looking outside themselves, but they forget how in the Scriptures is told that we should go into our own body. We can not blame others for our being what we are. We have to create ourselves and find the connection that is inside of us.

Lots of people are looking in the world around them. They should know that there is not really another place where they have to go to. Everybody is enabled to find Him who gives peace, comfort, blessings also in this life here and know on earth. Jesus prepared the way and made it possible that we can speak freely to his Father, the only One God. We just have to come to Him and just have to talk to him, as our closest Friend and He will answer and come to us.

If we want to come to peace, first of all we do have to create peace in ourselves. Therefore we should love ourselves and give the love of Christ the chance to grow in us. Like Jesus showed the world his love we also should find the inner peace he had. Like his peace brought water of life our inner peace should flow out of us flowing into the world.

Time to meditate and to feel

Various menorot used for Hanukkah. 12th throug...

Various menorot used for Hanukkah. 12th through 19th century, CE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Putting on those candles in this holiday season, being Jew or Christian, those believers are demanded to see beyond the candle light and to see the real light. they also should come to feel a stillness deep within them, and should get to know how to look for that stillness that allows them to seek the Most High Almighty God Who is One Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

These days we get time to consider how lucky we are where we live and what we can do. We should become aware of all the things we really do get without doing enough for it. We must be aware of the nourishment we can get and the opportunities we get to live nicely and to come to an environment of peace. But oh, so often, we do not see it. We do run past it. We have our eyes shut so that we can not see it. It is all so close to us, but we do have to be willing to open our eyes and be willing to see.

God is prepared to give it you all, but you have to recognise Him and to take His hand.

“Hanukkah as the holiday of ‘miracles’ can help us reframe our gathering together with family and friends at this secular season as an incredible miracle that requires much gratitude,”

David Fainsilber, religious leader at the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe said.

“Thank God for this miracle of life and family, gathering, friends and gratitude.”

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Preceding: A Meaningful Thanksgivukkah

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Read also:

  1. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  2. Being thankful
  3. Thanksgiving-Hanukkah overlap spurs thanks, angst
  4. What happens when you cross Thanksgiving with Hanukkah?
  5. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  6. Count your blessings
  7. God’s Salvation
  8. Written to recognise the Promissed One
  9. A “seed” for the blessing of all mankind would come through the family of Abraham

Dutch articles about the advent:

  1. Adventstijd bezinningstijd
  2. Advent een tijd voor reflectie
  3. Uitkijken naar twee adventen
  4. Een “zaad” voor de zegening van de gehele mensheid gekomen door de familie van Abraham
  5. Uit u zal voorkomen degene die heerser in Israël zal worden
  6. Het grootste geschenk ons gegeven
  7. Wat betreft Korte inhoud van lezingen: Bijgeloof en feesten

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Find also additional reading:

  1. Do No-Thing: The Power of Self Love.
  2. Crazy Messy Love: [Insert Faith Here.]
  3. Legacy of peace
  4. Its Never to Late
  5. I Was to write about love

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  • Jen And Tim Get A Taste Of Thanksgivukkah (new102.cbslocal.com)
    On Thursday, November 28th, the first day of Hanukkah falls on the same day as Thanksgiving. Many popular websites such as Buzzfeed have created recipes for American Jews so they can incorporate both holidays and have some neat decorating ideas as well.
  • Next Thanksgivukkah in 70,000 years (vtdigger.org)
    “The calendar is drifting forward with respect to the solar cycle at a rate of four days every 1,000 years,” he said. “Right now, the earliest that the first day of Hanukkah can fall is Nov. 28. Coincidentally, this is also the latest that Thanksgiving can fall.”Other mathematicians argue that the phenomenon will never happen again. Regardless, everyone agrees on one thing: Thanksgivukkah is an extremely rare and significant event in our lifetimes.
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    Thanksgivukkah is big business. People are selling T-shirts, table décor, dreidels, jewelry and more in honor of the super holiday.

    But regardless of how people choose to celebrate Thanksgivukkah, this unique historical event offers Jewish Americans an opportunity for introspection and reflection, said David Fainsilber, religious leader at the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe.

    “The thinker behind Reconstructionist Judaism, Mordechai Kaplan, was the first to introduce a Thanksgiving service into his siddur/prayer book,” Fainsilber said. “One of his main contributions to Jewish thought is the concept that, as Jews in America, we live in two civilizations: American and Jewish. Today, as American Jews (or Jewish Americans) this concept is now taken for granted in many ways.

  • Thanksgivukkah 2013 (be-watchful.com)
    Both holidays are about being thanksful so that shouldn’t be too difficult. Thanksgiving is a day when Americans count our blessings and give thanks to those who fought for our freedom and for all that we have. We share a day together with our loved ones.
  • 18 Reasons Why Thanksgivukkah Gives Jews The Best Of Both Worlds (elitedaily.com)
    While it may be a little annoying for some Jews to have to meld two of their favorite holidays into one, it could be a lot worse: imagine if Thanksgiving fell on Yom Kippur! Thanksgivkippur would be terrible! When you think about it, it’s actually pretty awesome that the two holidays fall on the same day. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that every Jew should embrace and look forward to.Here are 18 reasons why Thanksgivukkah gives Jews the best of both worlds
  • Q-C Jews celebrate Thanksgivukkah (qctimes.com)
    Justin Teitle of Bettendorf says his family’s partying like it’s 1999.He’s Jewish. His wife is Lutheran. Their two children are Jewish. And Thursday was the only time any of them will ever see Thanksgiving and the beginning of Hanukkah fall on the same day. The next time the two coincide will be 79,000 years.
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    “We see it as a great chance for our kids to participate in something that isn’t going to happen again, like New Year’s Eve before the year 2000,” Teitle said.
  • Happy Thanksgivukkah (mymorningmeditations.com)
    Amazement never ceases for the enlightened mind.At every moment it views in astonishment the wonder of an entire world renewed out of the void, and asks, “How could it be that anything at all exists?”-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
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    In my recent investigation into the concept (as opposed to the movement) of Christian fundamentalism, I see that at its heart, it is just the attempt to render a basic definition of the essentials of what makes a Christian. It’s the minimum set of standards, so to speak, that one must uphold to be an authentic believer.
  • St. Louis Jews celebrate Thanksgivukkah for first time since 1800s (fox2now.com)
    Peggy Umansky has enjoyed preparing for both holidays simultaneously. “People have been very inventive,” she says, “I have half my house decorated for Hanukkah, half decorated for Thanksgiving.”

    Umansky and her daughter made pumpkin-flavored challah, shaped and decorated like a turkey.  “I think it’s fun for the kids when the secular world meets the religious world, and they see that everything can coexist and be fun together,” she explains.

  • ‘Happy Thanksgivukkah!’ (endtimebibleprophecy.wordpress.com)
    Judith Mendelsohn Rood, a Jewish Christian and professor of history and Middle Eastern studies at Biola University, connected Hanukkah to one of Jesus’ most important teachings. In an interview this week, Rood cited John 10:22-42, when Jesus celebrated the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem.

    “In the Old Testament, there’s the festival of tabernacles, where people lived in booths in the fields for eight days,” Rood explained. In the time of Judas Maccabeus, the ruling Greeks would not allow the Jews to celebrate this feast. Once the Maccabees freed Israel from their rule, however, they celebrated Succoth late, and that gave rise to Hanukkah, Rood said.