by Jim Josephsen
When the phrase Christianity or Christian religion comes up, no doubt concepts of Jesus Christ, the 12 disciples, the Apostle Paul, perhaps the Protestant Reformation or the Catholic Inquisition are some of the thoughts that may come to mind. No doubt, the spectrum is wide, as a multitude of concepts pertinent to Christianity exist. Concepts such as Sunday, the Lord’s Day, Sunday go to meetin’, cathedrals, crosses, statues, icons, crucifixes,TV Evangelism; mega-churches, differing denominations, priests, bishops, reverends, pastors, ministers may come to mind.
Now mention Christian holidays and what comes to mind? Christmas, Halloween, All Saints Day, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Good Friday, Easter, perhaps even Pentecost. These days are the more common holidays, which are associated with and are unique to Christianity.
The word holiday derives from the Old English word haliddaeg, meaning halid (holy) daeg (day), indicating a day that is sanctified and consecrated, separate and different; observed as a day above and beyond normal; not to be treated as ordinary. However today, in substance and certainly in practice, most Christian holidays are no more holy than is a day in front of the television watching mud wrestling.
Reaching back into history, consider the Holy Day called Pentecost. This day cries out significance and sanctification; for on this day a new institution, the Christian religion with the focal point being the Church of God, composed of followers of Christ (Greek christianos – Christians) came into being.
In the second chapter of the book of Acts, we read, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit … (Acts 2:1-4 NIV). As the remainder of the narrative recorded in the second chapter of Acts reveals, the first great sermon preached by the Apostle Peter resulted in the repentance and baptism of some 3,000 people, all in one day.