I once heard a Reformed Baptist say that there are roughly 52 holidays (holy days) on the Reformed church calendar, and they all have the same name: the Lord’s Day. This assertion struck my funny bone at the time, but it has progressively become a reality for me over the years. As one grows in one’s delight in the Sabbath, all other days seem to pale in comparison.
It is written on the heart of man to set aside a day when he wishes to worship or esteem something or someone. God has written it on our hearts, just as He wrote all of the other Ten Commandments on our hearts. Innately, man knows it is proper to set aside time for the Object of his worship. In the book of Exodus, we are told:
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy,” (Exod. 20:8-11; NASB).
In the Hebrew Scriptures, many Ceremonial Laws were added to the Moral Law, including many feast days and special sabbaths (some of which did not even occur on the seventh day). These were meant to be days of rest, not resting in idleness or in some mystic form of meditation, but resting in the Lord. Other cultures and religions besides have conjured up their own holy days to be observed in accordance with their own religious calendars.
In the Greek Scriptures, we learn that the whole of the ceremonial law pointed to, and was fulfilled in, Christ. As such, there is only one day still binding on Christ’s subjects for His worship: the Sabbath. Some Christians have argued that the Sabbath is no longer binding, but that Christ is our Sabbath rest. Reformed Baptists respond that the Lord was always the focus of the Sabbath, so their argument has no foundation.
Others throughout church history have added to the church calendar holy days that were never commanded by God for His worship. These days include Christmas, Resurrection Day, All Saints Day and All Hallows Eve, Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc. These all have their roots in biblical truth (some more, some less), but none of them were commanded by God in Scripture.
“But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures” (The Baptist Confession, 22.1).
I am not saying that Christians are not free to make a commendable use of these days in good conscience. What I am saying is that they are not holy days (holidays) in the biblical sense. Only one day fits that bill. Thus, when these days take precedence over the Lord’s Day, whether in our observance of them or in our preparation for them, we might stop ask the Lord if we have chosen to prioritize our time contrary to how God has ordained. To put it more simply, the Lord’s Day should be more precious to us than any other “holiday” man may observe. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Side note: I was sick in bed and couldn’t attend church this past Lord’s Day, but I probably don’t need to tell you where I stand on churches closing their doors on the Lord’s Day merely so that God’s people can spend time with family on Christmas morning.