Not finding Advent and Christmas explicitly named in the Bible, many of our Evangelical forebears refused to celebrate it. Some of my heroes, the Calvinistic Baptists of the 18th century, are a good example in this regard. But while we must learn from the past—a deep-seated conviction I live my life by—we don’t live in those days. It is today we must seize for Christ. And it is Scriptural to set apart days—even seasons—to reflect on God’s goodness and mercy, and to seek his face. And the Advent—blessed are all those who long for Christ’s appearing—and Christmas seasons are a marvellous time for such reflection and such seeking. PS It is very interesting that many of those remarkable brothers and sisters of the 18th century were adamant about celebrating the Fifth of November—the anniversary of England’s deliverance from the Gunpowder plot in the first decade of the seventeenth century and then of the landing of William III in England in 1688, “King Billy,” who brought religious toleration.
I think, for example of Caleb Evans’ great sermon on British Constitutional Liberty given on November 5, 1775 or Evans’ The remembrance of former days (Bristol, 1778).
Was that hypocrisy? Not at all. I simply think Advent and Christmas are more important than November 5—though I do value religious freedom (see previous post!).