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You are here: Allan's TIME > Spirituality > Common Holiday

What is the most important common holiday of the year for Arab, Jew, and Gentile?

Christmas, Passover, Easter, etc.

by David W. Allan
Oct. 14, 2006

Traditions often lead us down strange roads – very different from the reason for which they were started. Such is the case with most major holidays. A perspective here is very helpful in giving us a better focus in our lives as it relates to our important holidays.

Christmas has become highly commercialized and is the biggest money making season for many businesses. The way overdone commercialization – starting nowadays well before Thanksgiving – really bothers me. But, I am most grateful that many are turned to Christ, His birth, and the love that surrounded His life – causing many to unselfishly give of their means and their time to bless the lives of others. However, if we ask the question, “Which is the more important holiday to celebrate, Christmas or Easter, for the Christian community?” The monies expended, the time and focus spent would clearly indicate Christmas. We have lost focus that it is the atonement that opens the door to the greatest of all the gifts of God, the gift of Eternal Life. So the Easter season should be our most important time of reflection, celebration, and commemoration, so that the Lord would know the feelings of our hearts and our deep feelings of gratitude for this most important event in the history of mankind.

It is interesting to ask the question, “Why did the Lord-Jehovah specifically take Abraham to Mt. Moriah? Here we have another cornerstone message to all who will heed. He led Abraham to Mount Moriah for a type and shadow sacrificial offering – the same Mount where Jehovah knew that He, himself, would be sacrificed – for the Father “so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son” (John 3:16) – to provide the infinite and eternal atonement – the most important work ever to be performed on the face of this Earth. Both the Father and the Son knew that this was necessary in order for us to return to the Father through our Faith in His Son and our repentance that we may receive fully of the grace extended by Him. The Father allowed the suffering of His Beloved Son because of His love for us, and the Savior was held to the cross, not by nails, but by love. He could have come down had He chosen to do so – knowing that if He chose to come down, we could not get back to the Father. His love for us held Him there. Abraham’s willingness to offer his “only” son is type and shadow for the atonement to all. This type and shadow is especially poignant for the decedents of Abraham who are Arab, Jew, and Christian. For Abraham was told, “ God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering...” (Gen. 22:8) In the Hebrew, this verse indicates that Jehovah will give himself to be the final and great sacrifice.

I find it intriguing that Muslim, Christian and Jew all have a very important celebration at the same time of year that Abraham made his famous journey to Mt. Moriah. We saw this specifically among our Muslim friends while we were serving a mission in West Africa. They celebrate it in Eid Al-Adha, which means "The Feast of the Sacrifice"), and commemorates Abraham's willingness and obedience to sacrifice his son Ishmael to God (and God's mercy in substituting a LAMB for Ishmael). For example, in the year (2003) the dates are the 5th and 6th of March, and the date changes each year – depending upon the Muslim lunar calendar. The Christians, of course, celebrate Easter, and the Jews the Passover. The Passover commemorates their “deliverance” from Egypt. The Lord caused the exodus from Egypt to happen at the same time of year as He would work out the atonement. Thus, as a Jew ponders the Passover, they are led to look to their ultimate “deliverance” through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Many of the Jewish converts still celebrate the Passover for they can see that it points to Christ. Though most of the Jews and Muslims unknowingly commemorate the atonement in their celebrations, if they will seek, they will find through the eye of faith that grand connection – leading them to Christ.

The tradition of 25 December for Christmas has been shown to not be a valid date for the birth of Christ. We read in the following:

(i.e. the Mass of Christ) is a traditional holiday in the Christian calendar which takes place around the end of December and celebrates the nativity of Jesus Christ, which occurred on or around April 6. Christmas is also celebrated as a secular holiday throughout much of the world.

Date of Celebration
Christmas is celebrated on December 25 in most Western Christian churches (Protestantism see Protestantism and Roman Catholic), and on the civil date of January 7 (1900 to 2099) in Eastern Orthodox churches which have not accepted either the Gregorian calendar or the Revised Julian Calendar reforms. A few Christian churches, most notably the Jehovah's Witnesses, view Christmas as a pagan holiday and do not celebrate it. Jesus' true birth date occurred on or around April 6. Most scholars believe that the birth of Jesus was probably in the spring and is highly unlikely to have fallen in deep winter. Originally, Christmas' date was set to correspond with Greco-Roman festivals. As early as A.D. 354, the Birth of Christ was celebrated on Dec. 25th in Rome. Other cities had other traditional dates. The word "Christmas" is often abbreviated to "Xmas", the "X" being an uppercase Greek letter chi, which is the first letter of "Christos" in Greek. The abbreviation is widely but not universally accepted; some view it as demeaning to the name of Christ.

Interestingly, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been given by revelation that the birth date of the Savior is 6 April (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 20). To commemorate this date, the Church was organized on this date in 1830.

Further, in the Book of Mormon, the Christians in America were given a sign of His birth. They also saw the new star and began the dating of their calendar with the birth of Christ. They were also given to know of the crucifixion and resurrection:

And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder. And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land. ...the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth; And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough. ...And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land. And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours;... —and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land. And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness; And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all; And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land. And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them. (3 Nephi 8:6-23)

These three days of darkness are still remembered among some of the American Indians, and caused them “... to exclaim: The God of nature suffers.” (1 Nephi 19:12) The Savior’s glorious resurrection was most dramatically manifest to those, who were more righteous and who remained after these destructions, by his visit to them as He showed them the marks of the nails in his hands and feet. Their calendar gives the date of His crucifixion as being 33 years and four days after his birth, which would make it the 11th of April on our calendar.

So, from the above we see that the Savior’s birth, the Jewish Passover, the Muslim’s “Feast of the Sacrifice,” and the infinite and eternal atonement are all concurrent dates of the year (within a week or so), and needs to be our greatest celebration. What a unifying thing it would be if Muslim, Jew, and Christian could come together in the realization that they are all celebrating the same thing: the Atonement of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God – the most important event in all the history of the earth for all of Heavenly Father’s children. It is my prayer that all faiths, cultures, and races will unite in the spirit of love perfectly exemplified in the life and death of Him who gave all that we may receive all – even a fullness of joy in the mansions of the Father. May we forgive as He forgave; may we love as He loved; may our repentance be complete that we may receive fully of the infinite grace extended by Him is my prayer.

See also

Other Spiritual Writings by David W. Allan

Page posted Nov. 17, 2005
Page last updated October 16, 2006



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