Saturday, December 31, 2011

Question: Is the Calendar Year Significant to the Life of the Church?

As one year ends and another begins I'm compelled to ask: Is the calendar year significant to the life of the church?

On the one hand we could easily answer "No." The church is the church regardless of time of year. It has the same God, the same joy, and the same mission.

We could also easily answer "Yes." The ministry of the church is affected by the time of year. For example, weather plays a part in the needs of the church and broader community. Additionally, some within the church celebrate certain days on the calendar (Christmas, Easter, etc.).

This is probably a question that does not have a simple "Yes" or "No" answer. However, generally speaking do you think the calendar year is significant to the life of the church?

In looking in scripture, I can't find any indication that specific dates mattered much to the church. They seemed to celebrate the Lord's Supper fairly frequently. However, they may have also celebrated the Passover, which would have fallen on a specific date.

On today's calendar, the days of the week are an interesting issue. Many within the church view Sunday as a sort of Sabbath. It is often referred to as the "Lord's Day." We know the church in Troas came together to break bread on the first day of the week (at least one time when Paul was with them). That said, we also know that the church in Jerusalem met daily. We get no general sense that Sunday was any more significant than any other day of the week.

Our culture, whether we like it or not, impacts the life of the church. Generally speaking, more people have Sunday off from work than any other day. Because of this, larger church gatherings (over 10-20 people) are easier to schedule on Sunday than any other day. Does this make Sunday special in and of itself or do we just gather that day for pragmatic reasons?

All these factors and many more must be taken into account when answering the question at hand.

What do you think? Is the calendar year significant? If so, how and why?


Jonathan said...

I've been asking a similar question lately. I asked a poll question:

"Do you think some days are more Holy than others?"
I've only got 15 responses so far:

2 - Yes
12 - No
1 - I don't like the question

"One person considers one day to be above another day. Someone else considers every day to be the same. Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind." Rom 14:5 (HCSB)

Personally, I'd like to consider every day Holy. I'm wondering if I can live in a way that celebrates every day as a holy day.

If only I could convince my employer that every day is a holiday. :)

Eric said...


Thanks for the answer.

It's interesting that you are thinking about some of the same things I am. I'll take a look at your post.

I agree that all days are holy.

As for Romans 14, I believe that passage is dealing specifically with OT special days such as the Sabbath, Passover, etc. Do you think it applies to modern "holy days" such as Christmas and Easter? I don't, but I could certainly be incorrect.

As for your employer, let me know if you can convince him.

Jonathan said...

Yes, I am glad to see God is pushing others to question... well basically everything... Sometimes my mind hurts with all the questions, but I'm thankful for the journey. It is no longer boring.

I agree Rom 14:5 would be talking about OT Holy days. And the NT makes no reference to celebrating days like Easter and Christmas.

To me this verse confirms that I'm OK if I consider every day to be the same.

As for people that place special emphasis on days like Christmas, Easter, and Sundays... I think it would be good for them to consider their position until they are fully convinced in their own mind... and I will respect them whichever way they land.

But I do think it is time more Christians considered this topic. Far too many just follow tradition blindly without thinking for themselves.

Mac said...

Personally I believe that the manmade High Holy day of Janus u ary is of no real importance to the church. The original God ordained holy days were set forth in the old testament in the first five books. Suprise, Christmas, New Years, and Easter are not among them. In fact they all have manmade pagan roots and traditions. Set that aside for now. The original Hebrew calendar was a lunar calendar based on the new moon, not a sun based calendar as was the roman calendar that we now use. In the hebrew calendar (HC)there could be 12 or 13 months to the year and that was based on the ripenness of the Abib Barley. So the First day of the year would occur on the day that the first sliver of the new moon was seen over the eastern wall of Jerusalem. So you never knew from year to year when the 1st of the year was. In the roman calendar (RC) the first on January is always 1st of the year. So in the HC you were dependant on the moon phases and God and in the RC you were dependant upon man with no real need for God (maybe the Invincible Sun). As believers the answer become rather clear. Imagine a world based soley on the HC. This would be very diffucult however at the very least we probably should not be giving such high regard for this manmade pagan High Holy day in obedience to Christ. This would very definitely seperate us a people set apart unto God. Food for thought. Thanks for thought provoking post, brother. once again I appreciate the oppurtunity to share amongst brother and sisters.

Eric said...


Christmas and Easter in particular fascinate me. The reason is that most Christians are very invested emotionally in celebrating these two holidays. In my experience, it bothers/flusters other Christians when I ask why there is no evidence for these celebrations in scripture.

If they want to celebrate them, that's fine with me. I just hope, as you said, they have thought about it. Most have not.

Eric said...


Thanks for your thoughts on the Hebrew calendar. I admit to not giving the HC much thought as it relates to our culture today.

It seems that Romans 14 frees us from any constraints related to special days mentioned in the OT law. However, it makes much more sense for us to follow OT holidays and calendar than it does pagan ones.

It saddens and perplexes me why most in the church ignore OT holy days and at the same time celebrate holidays such as Easter and Christmas without giving it much thought. Tradition is such a powerful thing.