May religious holidays be abolished?

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Every once in a while a suggestion is made to change or abolish religious holidays. The matter has been discussed in Christian circles. Some are for it, others are against it. What can we say about this matter?

The principles involved must first be considered. Does the Bible command us to observe certain religious holidays? If the Bible makes this demand, then the Christian Church is obligated to observe them. If the Bible does not demand this, then Christians are free to decide how and when they will observe holidays.

During the Old Testament times the children of Israel were commanded to observe many different types of festivals. They prefigured Christ and His Kingdom of peace.

When Christ came these symbols were fulfilled and lost their meaning. New Testament Christians are now told: "Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day" (Col. 2:16). There is no longer any kind of a festival or Sabbath that a Christian is commanded to observe with the threat of losing his salvation if he fails to do so.

When false teachers demanded that the Galatian Christians observe certain days and festivals if they wished to be saved, Paul wrote the following words to them: "You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain" (Gal. 4:10,11).

The observance of religious holidays is therefore a free matter which Christians can agree on among themselves on the basis of love and expediency. The first Christians did not even observe Christmas, which to us is perhaps the leading Church festival besides Easter. Christians, however, have always adhered to the Scriptural message and the doctrines that are associated with the different festivals.

Non?Christian people cannot be forced to observe Christian practices by decrees. Those who have a mutual faith can agree among themselves as to how they will observe Christian festivals, but they do not have the right to ask the unbelieving world to do the same.

For example in the United States Christians work on Good Friday and only pause to hear the message of the Cross in the afternoon or evening, whereas in our country it is a national holiday. We prefer to have Good Friday as a holiday. Perhaps Christians in the United States would prefer this too, but they do not sin by working on that day.

Religious holidays have been a great blessing when God's Word has been given the opportunity to sanctify us. As such they still have value, but otherwise, no.