“A Happy Christmas to You All”

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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
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Now, a happy Christmas to you all; and it will be a happy Christmas if you have God with you. I shall say nothing today against festivities on this great birthday of Christ. I hold that, perhaps, it is not right to have the birthday celebrated, but we will never be among those who think it as much a duty to celebrate it the wrong way as others the right. But we will tomorrow think of Christ’s birthday; we shall be obliged to do it, I am sure, however sturdily we may hold to our rough Puritanism. And so, “let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the un-leavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Do not feast as if you wished to keep the festival of Bacchus; do not live tomorrow as if you adored some heathen divinity. Feast, Christians, feast; you have a right to feast. Go to the house of feasting tomorrow, celebrate your Savior’s birth; do not be ashamed to be glad, you have a right to be happy. Solomon says, “Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God now accepts your works. Let your garments be always white and let your head lack no ointment.” —

Religion never was designed
To make our pleasures less.

Recollect that your Master ate butter and honey. Go your way, rejoice tomorrow; but, in your feasting,think of the Man in Bethlehem; let Him have a place in your hearts, give Him the glory, think of the virgin who conceived Him, but think most of all of the Man born, the Child given. I finish by again say-ing — “A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!”


Charles Hadden Spurgeon
The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Sermon № 2392
Delivered Lord's Day, December 24th, 1854
New Park Street Chapel, Southwark
 
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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
I think this is an area where we should return to the puritans and not set them aside, especially if we feel their arguments were in accord with God’s Word. A blessed day to you all both this day and everyday in the same measure.

I wish never to support our savior, including His Name, being related to the mass. No matter how you spell it!
 
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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
This was the clincher for me, as far as any remaining private keeping of the day. I realized what we’re saying in saying the word.
Agreed, as I have been seeking to understand RC doctrine of their mass, I’ve become increasingly appalled at what the word coveys and how freely it is used by Protestants as if without thought. Basically plastering everywhere (On gifts, cards, and even post). I have often wondered if the name of this holiday is a violation of the 3rd commandment. Is it not the equivalent to the very common misuse of our Lord’s name in movies and the like?
 
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retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Sophomore
This is a question of curiosity. Isn't "mass" also used in a general sense for a service and not only as identifying the Roman ritual abomination?
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Merry Christmas!

And, once again, I DID NOT get the ICBM I've been hoping for for years. (You should see how much dirt is piled up in my backyard after digging the silo for it some years ago!)

Sure, sure, I got a couple of rocket launchers and a flamethrower. But, somehow, it just isn't the same.

Oh, well. There's always next year!
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I have spent most of the day battling with a mini-hooligan (my near 2-year-old cousin who was visiting) and escaping to read Roger Scruton, though that was difficult with James the Terrible rampaging around the house. I did not even get to watch the last 40 minutes of Home Alone 2 in peace. We will need the six-week lockdown that is due to start from tomorrow night to recover from this visit. :lol:

While I ascribe no religious significance to this time of year, and never attend Xmas church services (unless they fall on the Sabbath) nor do I have "incarnation focused" private devotions, I am still thankful for some of the good things that come out of it. Even the Westminster Assembly took a few days off at this time of year. I once speculated that they did so in order to attend the Irish League football matches on Xmas and Boxing Day. This conjecture seems most reasonable, as Irish League "soccer" is the perfect hobby for those with no interest in earthly pleasures. ;)
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
There is an actual football game starting in 8 minutes... I’m halfway tempted to watch it.

Do the MLS play games on 25 December? It is often a joke around here that while all the pious people are in church on Xmas morning, I am at the Steel and Sons Cup Final. Regretfully, it was not on this year for fear that someone, somewhere might be having a good time.
 
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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Our church holds no special services for Christmas or Easter. We observe 52 holy days a year—the Lord's day or Christian Sabbath. This past Lord's day, I preached on something unrelated to the incarnation and will do so again this Lord's day. Now I have in other years taken the liberty to preach a sermon either on the incarnation or resurrection around Christmas or Easter because I judged it to be unto edification. And I trust it was. We have brethren in our congregation representing the full spectrum of Protestant attitudes on Christmas. Some would likely welcome things like a Christmas Eve service while others, if wished a "Merry Christmas!" by their mailman, will respond with a thoughtful summary Gillespie's A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies. In spite of this, we have managed by God's grace to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Those who observe the day are careful to respect their brethren who do not. And those, who object to it strive not to take offense or quarrel with those brethren that wish them a merry Christmas or send them a greeting card.

There is every reason to discuss and debate these matters in a thoughtful and meaningful way. However, the temptation to virtue signal isn't something to which any of us are immune. And I think we should all guard against the unseemly practice of making statements around this time of year that do little more than register the superiority of our own views against those of our ostensibly "overly scrupulous" or "unenlightened" brethren. I think there is far too much of this that goes on among Reformed believers. And it is a mark against us. We can hold tenaciously to our convictions without being uncharitable to our brethren or puffed up in our conceits. I do not say this with any reference to anyone in this discussion but rather as a general admonition to all of us, regardless of what view we hold on this or any other matter.
 
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Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Sophomore
Some would likely welcome things like a Christmas Eve service while others, if wished a "Merry Christmas!" by their mailman, will respond with a thoughtful summary Gillespie's A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies.
As fantastic as that book is, when I receive a well meant wish I simply reply “thank you” or “you too”.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Our church holds no special services for Christmas or Easter. We observe 52 holy days a year—the Lord's day or Christian Sabbath. This past Lord's day, I preached on something unrelated to the incarnation and will do so again this Lord's day. Now I have in other years taken the liberty to preach a sermon either on the incarnation or resurrection around Christmas or Easter because I judged it to be unto edification. And I trust it was. We have brethren in our congregation representing the full spectrum of Protestant attitudes on Christmas. Some would likely welcome things like a Christmas Eve service while others, if wished a "Merry Christmas!" by their mailman, will respond with a thoughtful summary Gillespie's A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies. In spite of this, we have managed by God's grace to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Those who observe the day are careful to respect their brethren who do not. And those, who object to it strive not to take offense or quarrel with those brethren that wish them a merry Christmas or send them a greeting card.

There is every reason to discuss and debate these matters in a thoughtful and meaningful way. However, the temptation to virtue signal isn't something to which any of us are immune. And I think we should all guard against the unseemly practice of making statements around this time of year that do little more than register the superiority of our own views against those of our ostensibly "overly scrupulous" or "unenlightened" brethren. I think there is far too much of this that goes on among Reformed believers. And it is a mark against us. We can hold tenaciously to our convictions without being uncharitable to our brethren and neighbors. I do not say this with any reference to anyone in this discussion but rather as a general admonition to all of us, regardless of what view we hold on this or any other matter.
I agree. There are certain circles were the back and forth can be a little more blunt. For example within a private group text with a few of my Reformed friends. However during this season my family seeks to be respectful to others practices and we are also clear in communicating ours in a respectful way. We accept gifts and when someone wishes us a Merry day, we respond with a polite thank you and you too. We accept all cards and discard the ones with Jesus images in private. We also even will have family over to share a meal or attend other family gatherings if invited. Either view likely is held as being superior by it’s holder. Your post is a good reminder for either side. Thanks!
 

Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Sophomore
You don't celebrate the advent of the Lord?
The celebration of liturgical days outside of the Lords Day is a hot topic. Some will say it is not a big deal, others will say it is idolatry and papist superstition.

Look through the “pretend holidays” forum and you will find hours worth of discussion.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
While I understand and to a great deal agree with much of the "anti-Christmas" sentiment here, I think it is only fair—and must be said—that the "Westminster position" is not the only confessional Reformed position:

"If the churches do religiously celebrate the memory of the Lord’s nativity, circumcision, passion, resurrection, and of His ascension into heaven, and sending the Holy Ghost upon His disciples, according to Christian liberty, we do very well approve of it."​
—Second Helvetic Confession, ch. 24​
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
While I understand and to a great deal agree with much of the "anti-Christmas" sentiment here, I think it is only fair—and must be said—that the "Westminster position" is not the only confessional Reformed position:

"If the churches do religiously celebrate the memory of the Lord’s nativity, circumcision, passion, resurrection, and of His ascension into heaven, and sending the Holy Ghost upon His disciples, according to Christian liberty, we do very well approve of it."​
—Second Helvetic Confession, ch. 24​
I think most understand this; but this is the puritan board after all. What I don't understand is how religiously celebrate is consistent with the regulative principle of worship? At least not without redefining that. And how is it doing well if there is no prescription for those days; and how are those free from not doing well for not observing them?

I would argue it was defective; and of course the Scottish Kirk famously took exception to this very clause. At this time you had a lot of half reformation, normally epitomized with the English church which puritanism fought to reform.
 

Joshua

Administrator
While I understand and to a great deal agree with much of the "anti-Christmas" sentiment here, I think it is only fair—and must be said—that the "Westminster position" is not the only confessional Reformed position:

"If the churches do religiously celebrate the memory of the Lord’s nativity, circumcision, passion, resurrection, and of His ascension into heaven, and sending the Holy Ghost upon His disciples, according to Christian liberty, we do very well approve of it."​
—Second Helvetic Confession, ch. 24​
But it’s the only Westminster one, praise the LORD!
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
The only day I refrain from is Arbor Day because the ancient Celts had druids who worshipped trees and I am afraid it will become a temptation to me given my ancestry.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
What I don't understand is how religiously celebrate is consistent with the regulative principle of worship? At least not without redefining that. And how is it doing well if there is no prescription for those days; and how are those free from not doing well for not observing them?

But it’s the only Westminster one, praise the LORD!
I'm not arguing for what the SHCF teaches. In fact, I disagree with it; I am firmly Westminsterian here. All I am saying is that, as far as historic Reformed theology goes, we cannot pretend there is uniformity on this matter.
 
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