10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10–11, NKJV)
The Bible records prophecies, preparations, proclamations, and praises of the birth of “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” But the Bible nowhere pronounces and propagates a religious holiday that celebrates that great event. Interesting, isn’t it? The Bible does not tell us the day of His birth. Unlike many historical events in Israel’s history (cf. the Passover, etc.), Scripture does not assign an annual day of celebration for Christ’s birth. The Bible is silent on observing a yearly religious holiday called Christmas (“Cristes Maesse” or “Mass of Christ,” from A.D. 1038, Catholic Encyclopedia). “There is no historical evidence that our Lord’s birthday was celebrated during the apostolic or early post-apostolic times” (Shaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, III:47). The earliest record recognizing December 25 as a church festival is from the mid-fourth century, a full 300 years after Christ’s birth (Ibid). Indeed, “There can be little doubt that the Church was anxious to distract the attention of Christians from the old heathen feast days by celebrating Christian festivals on the same days (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, III:607). Undeniably, men invented the religious festival of Christmas; it cannot be found in the word of God. Galatians 1:6-9 pronounces God’s curse on every human change of the gospel. Yes, we rejoice in the birth of the Savior with angels, shepherds, and Magi (Lk. 2:8-20; Matt. 2:9-11). But we dare not devise and demand worship from our own hearts that God has not revealed (remember Jeroboam, 1 Kgs. 12:28-33).
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 1:1, NKJV)
Today is Saint Patrick’s Day, a celebration of Ireland named for Patrick, a fifth-century cleric from Roman Britain credited with bringing Christianity to the island. March 17 is regarded as the day of his death. Patrick recounted a vision led him to Ireland as a missionary. Legends and tales of shamrocks, snakes, and walking sticks becoming living trees wrap themselves about the imagery of Patrick. Never officially canonized by a Catholic pope, he is venerated by millions. And, herein is just some of the problems with “Saint” Patrick. In the New Testament, every Christian is a “saint” (holy person) as today’s verse indicates (see also, Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10; 1 Cor. 1:2). God does not speak through visions now, but through Jesus Christ and His apostles (Heb. 1:1-2; Matt. 10:40). Patrick’s imaginations ought not be thought of as divine directives. (Many have made that mistake through the centuries!) And, please explain how drinking alcohol to celebrate a “saint” squares with the holiness of a “saint,” when the Bible says do not start the drinking process, much less continue it to inebriation (Eph. 5:18). The Bible does not teach us to have feast days to honor “saints” of the Catholic Church. Celebrate Ireland, but don’t confuse worldly indulgence with honoring a saint of man’s own creation.
27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” 28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27–28, NKJV)
Mary was indeed blessed among women, by giving birth to Jesus, and by having such a son as He (Luke 1:42, 46-48). Yet, “those who hear the word of God and keep it” are blessed more greatly than Mary. The Roman Catholic Church has heaped blessings upon Mary that cannot be heard by listening to the word of God. They venerate Mary, claiming for her all sorts of powers and position nowhere to be found in the Scriptures. Catholicism’s Mariology views Mary as the Mother of God and advocates her Assumption (that sinless Mary was assumed into heaven, body and soul), her Immaculate Conception (that Mary was born without original sin), and her Perpetual Virginity (which contradicts Matthew 1:25; 13:55-56; Mark 6:3). Other Marian doctrines describe her as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix with Jesus Christ. Prayers are offered to Mary, with expectations of blessings. Yet, you must hear the Roman Church to learn these dogmas and doctrines. Jesus said we should hear the word of God and keep it. When we do, we will not have the Vatican’s blessing, but, we will have heaven’s blessing.