The Battle for a Christian Calendar
The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) is conducting hearings in all provinces into whether Christian public holidays in South Africa “unfairly discriminate against holidays of other religions.”
Hearings have been held in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Durban and Cape Town, and are still to be held in North-West, Limpopo and the Northern Cape provinces.
Cape Town Hearings
At the CRL hearings in Cape Town (28 June), representatives from Christian, Muslim, Khoisan and Business groups present agreed that Good Friday and Christmas should not be removed as public holidays. The Christians represented also felt very strongly about bringing back Ascension Day. Christians for Truth reported the same from the Durban hearings. Abraham Warren from Christians for Truth reminded the floor that “the religion of secular humanism is unfairly favoured by government, with at least 9 public holidays being clearly humanist.”
Rethink Secular Holidays
A representative from the Cape Chamber of Commerce stated that “we need a complete re-think on the amount of public holidays in South Africa. We have far more public holidays than most other countries in the world. We cannot afford to add any more holidays… that would be detrimental to our economy.”
Some Christians felt that some of the meaningless and hypocritical secular humanist public holidays such as Human Rights Day or Women's Day could be removed. They stated that these are meaningless because the most innocent and helpless people, pre-born babies, are not given their most basic right - the Right to Life; and women are not protected from the exploitative pornography and prostitution industries.
The very name holiday means "holy day". Most holidays have religious significance. The events that a society chooses to centre its holidays around speak volumes about the religious worldview and value systems of that society.
History is His Story
The Christian view of history is linear. Unlike Eastern religions which hold to re-incarnation and have a circular view of history, or atheists who believe that "you have come from nothing, you're going nowhere, life is meaningless", Christians believe that History is His story.
God is sovereign over time and space. At one point in history, God created the world. At another time He judged the world in the Flood. At the appointed time, Christ came and died for our sins. Three days later He rose from the dead. Forty days later He ascended into Heaven. Ten days after that He sent the Holy Spirit upon His disciples at Pentecost. One great Day He will return to this earth and judge the nations. History has a goal. Time has meaning. Our calendars should reflect that.
A Christian Calendar
It is appropriate that the biggest and most important holiday event of our calendar year is the one that commemorates the Incarnation of Christ, when God took on human form and was born in Bethlehem. Christmas celebrates the greatest gift of all, the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason for the season. Wise men still seek Him. We give gifts on Christmas Day to celebrate the official birthday of the King of kings, and out of gratitude for the great gifts He has given us.
The second most important Christian holiday is Good Friday, when we solemnly remember the Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ, His great sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary. "In view of God's mercy… offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God…" Romans 12:1
The third great Christian holiday event is Easter Sunday. Resurrection Sunday is a joyous celebration of the victory of Christ over death, hell and the grave. Jesus is Risen from the dead. He is alive forever more. Death is defeated. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. In Jerusalem there is an empty Tomb. "He is risen!"
The Great Commission
The fourth most important event in the Christian calendar is Ascension Day. Forty days after Resurrection Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of Christ into Heaven. He is above every other name and authority in Heaven and on earth. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We have an Advocate in Heaven. He hears our prayers. He will crush all His enemies. He will come again. Therefore, we must go and make disciples of all nations.
Does your calendar reflect your Faith?
Once all the provincial hearings have been held by the end of July, the CRL will compile all the responses and present them to Parliament. Parliament will then review the Public Holidays Act (1994).
“Contend earnestly for the Faith which was once for all delivered to the saints…” Jude 3-4