Sunday, December 25, 2011

Take the Good: Merry Christmas!

We have various examples in our recent history on how a Christian may set aside Christmas Day.

John Murray, that stalwart Presbyterian theologian of the previous generation, made the following comment from the library at Westminster Seminary in a letter written to Valerie (who eventually became his wife) on December 24th:
I hope to be here all day tomorrow. I have not even accepted a dinner engagement for what they call ‘Christmas.’ I hate the whole business.

- Collected Writings of John Murray, Vol 3.
Let's just say that Prof. Murray was not hurt if he did not make it on your Christmas card list! Though we can be assured Murray's his time was well-invested in that library and finishing his (still authoritative) Romans.

Then are responses like that of C.H. Spurgeon, The Incarnation and the Birth of Christ:
This is the season of the year when, whether we wish it or not, we are compelled to think of the birth of Christ. I hold it to be one of the greatest absurdities under heaven to think that there is any religion in keeping Christmas-day. There are no probabilities whatever that our Saviour Jesus Christ was born on that day, and the observance of it is purely of Popish origin; doubtless those who are Catholics have a right to hallow it, but I do not see how consistent Protestants can account it in the least sacred.

However, I wish there were ten or a dozen Christmas-days in the year; for there is work enough in the world, and a little more rest would not hurt labouring people. Christmas-day is really a boon to us; particularly as it enables us to assemble round the family hearth and meet our friends once more. Still, although we do not fall exactly in the track of other people, I see no harm in thinking of the incarnation and birth of the Lord Jesus. We do not wish to be classed with those

"Who with more care keep holiday
The wrong, than others the right way.”

The old Puritans made a parade of work on Christmas-day, just to show that they protested against the observance of it. But we believe they entered that protest so completely, that we are willing, as their descendants, to take the good accidentally conferred by the day, and leave its superstitions to the superstitious.

HT: Challies
We are with Spurgeon, leave the superstitions to the superstitious and take the good from God's providence to meet again with friends once more. I hope this Lord's Day, assembled with the saints, was edifying and that time around that family hearth is enjoyable (even if it it is now electric!).

Merry Christmas!

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