Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Birthday?

In my last post, I briefly explained our journey out of Christmas.  Perhaps you are one of those who asks, "Is it wrong to celebrate the birthday of Jesus on December 25?"

One of the things that crossed my mind while thinking this through was, what if we eliminate the words "on December 25?"  Is it something we should be doing, period?  Scripture is not clear on the date of Yeshua's birth.  Two of the gospels don't even mention it.  Do you suppose that God did this on purpose?

I found two clear birthday celebrations in scripture, with an allusion to a third.  Let's look at them:

Exodus 40:20-22:  Now it came to pass on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.  Then he restored the chief butler to his butlership again, and he placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.  But he hanged the chief baker, as Joseph had interpreted to them.

Matthew 14 and Mark 6 tell the story of the daughter of Herodias dancing before Herod on his birthday.  The ultimate result was the beheading of John the Baptist.

The final allusion to a birthday takes place in the first chapter of Job.  Some translations use the word birthday; others do not.  Here is the NIV translation:  His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom. 

These are the only references in the scriptures to birthdays, and frankly, none of them had uplifting results.  I have also heard that the three most important holidays to practicing witches are Samhain (Halloween), Beltane (May 1), and their birthday.  I don't remember where I read this, and I am not totally certain that it is true.

We are never once commanded to celebrate the birthday of the Son of God.  So does that mean we should not do it?  This is a question that only you can answer, through prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  I am not going to condemn you if you do.  But I hope that you won't condemn me or call me Scrooge because I don't.   I know that the battle cry of the Reformation was "Sola Scriptura!"  Personally, I think that "Sola Scriptura Unless It Is A Long-Held Tradition " is more accurate.

And lest you think I am a JW and don't do birthdays at all, I do acknowledge the days that my children joined the family. But I am careful not to make more of those days than I ought.  Know what I mean? 

I also think that God left us a few clues in His Word to let us know when Yeshua was born.  Watch for my next post (if you are still with me, that is!).

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