As parents, we desire to be intentional in living out Christ in front of our children in every way, including redeeming holidays with our children or using the opportunity of celebrating a holiday to show them Christ. So when our children were little, my husband and I talked about how we had celebrated holidays in our families growing up and what traditions we might want to share in our own family. We asked ourselves why we observed each holiday and talked to Christian friends about their traditions at holidays. Also, we read Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper.
It is our wish to share Christ with our children as we celebrate holidays and so redeem every opportunity as modeled in Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to remember certain holidays, like Passover and the Feast of Tents. Christ has fulfilled the Law, however, so Christians are not required to celebrate any religious or non-religious holidays. The only remaining day Christians need to set apart is the Sabbath, now called the Lord’s Day. So it is purely by choice and as an opportunity to enjoy traditions with our family and to make Christ known to our children that we celebrate any holiday.
Christmas and Easter are easy to find God-honoring activities and traditions with a focus on Christ. Christ is the real meaning in these holidays. On Valentine’s Day, we can focus on the love of God, blessing others, and telling others about God’s love. We celebrate our freedom in Christ and study the history of our country, which was founded on Judeo-Christian values on Independence Day. Thanksgiving lends itself to cultivating a spirit of gratitude and contentment and reflection on God’s goodness resulting in giving Him thanks. Also at Thanksgiving we can study history by remembering the Pilgrims and first colonists.
We can find redemptive value in most holidays that are popular in our society, but not Halloween. Instead, we choose to celebrate Reformation Day, which recognizes the freedoms that the Reformers gave their lives for and is a time to remember this historical period which changed the course of history and gave us the lives we have today. We also do not have formal celebrations on some United States holidays, such as MLK Day, Presidents Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, though sometimes we merely take the opportunity to get together with family.