Wednesday, November 21, 2007

To Celebrate or Not?

Most people in the world celebrate the holidays of their culture, some do not. For religious reasons Jehovah's Witnesses do not. For religious reasons most other churches do, and many religions have their own Hol[y]days. Still there are others who do not celebrate because of personal choice. Do you have theological or philosophical reasons for choosing to celebrate, or choosing to avoid celebration?

12 comments:

Jeremiah said...

I love holidays--Christmas, Hallowee, Easter--and I hate it when they get bogged down in religious condemnation (as with Halloween) or overspiritualization (as with Christmas). I found you through Justin, and I'm glad I did.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Jeremiah,

Nice to e-meet you. I like your distaste for the extremes, but your joy in the simplicity of the Holidays.

Beth said...

In our home we pretty much follow the western church's liturgical calendar, rather than celebrating according to the secular or civil religion ones. (e.g., civil religion's "Christmas" starts just after Thanksgiving, but we keep Advent until Dec 24, and then the Christmas Season until Jan 6th -- and btw that is definitely the most countercultural moment in living by a different calendar! People think you are *nuts* for putting decorations up so "late," and leaving them up "too long".)

This different way of contstruing time also means we observe events like Annunciation or Transfiguration that don't really figure on the culture's calendar, but don't pay very much attention to holidays that feel major to the American secular mind -- like Mother's Day or Veterans Day. Of course you can find reasons, as a Christian, to honor your mother, etc... so I'm not seeking to say there's nothing "spiritual" that can be brought to them.

But for us the priority is to align ourselves with the observances that were generated out of the gravitational pull of the ancient Nativity/Easter polarity. The feast/fast rhythm. And so on.

Steve Hayes said...

Phil,

You ask a difficult question, which raises lots of other questions.

What is my culture?

And what are its holidays?

What do you count as holidays? Officially recognised public holidays, where people are given time off work?

Days of seasonal celebrations observed by religious groups?

Days observed by commercial groups (eg Valentine's Day, Mother's Day)?

Adam Gonnerman said...

I'll celebrate pretty much all of them in my own way. I can't think of any I wouldn't celebrate.

Pastor Phil said...

Beth,

I love your counter-cultural activity. Thanks for a great outline of your practices!

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Steve,

I think the more important of questions lies in the line between a day moving from a holiday to a holyday. Somewhere in our decisions we create tradition, which we are loathe to see changed, and thereby make it holy by our own definition.

Pastor Phil said...

Happy Festivus Adam!

Pete Aldin said...

I'll celebrate anything that's honorable whether it be Easter or a day commemorating veterans.

Halloween p's me off, though...

Pastor Phil said...

for Pete's sake! ;-)

In my city Halloween is the best day (well, actually it's a whole month long) ever. Particularly if you want to share your faith in God.

Thanks for popping in Pete. Grace to you in your life coaching.

Gman said...

Some holidays are just plain silly and the debate about Xmas, Christmas or saying Happy Holidays I find amusing!!! Good thoughts here!

Yehudi01 said...

Being Jewish, we celebrate the G-d mandated holidays, such as Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Pesach...but there are a number of historical holidays that we observe, such as Chanukah, (right now!), Purim, and Tisha B'Av. The secular holidays like Valentine's Day, I could do without, but my wife seems to enjoy it. :)
We loathe H-ween.