Times of feasting are mandated in the Bible.  So as you approach Christmas, remember that there is a good way to feast and a bad way.  A right way of enjoying festivals is defined by a couple of principles.

First, take all of God’s gifts with thanksgiving.  There are plenty of people who feel guilty enjoying rest and food.  That’s sad, because God has given them to us.  It’s worse than sad when they try and put their guilt on other people – in fact, it’s downright wrong.  Paul knew this, and that’s why he described such people as devoted to the doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1-2).  In contrast he tells you, Christian, to enjoy everything God has given with thanksgiving.  “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5).

Second, maintain discipline even in your feasting and your resting.  It’s very obvious as you look at the festivals for the Israelites in Leviticus 23 that they involve much enforced rest, but their feasting also contained rhythms and rituals designed to draw the worshipper’s attention to God their Redeemer.  So also at Christmas, I encourage you to rest well and eat well, but also to take up the opportunity to worship well, and to approach God daily in prayer and listening to his Word.

There are bad ways of feasting which involve the extremes of either pious legalism (and its accompanying false guilt and self-righteous pride), or flabby licentiousness (leading to the New Year blahs and a long recovery process).  As you seek to feast well this Christmas, take God’s gifts with thanksgiving, and return to him daily for the true rest that he alone can bring to your soul.