Observing Seasons
Galatians 4:10, 11
You observe days, and months, and times, and years.

St. Paul considers the observing of days, and months, and seasons, and years as so gross an instance of relapse to the weak and beggarly rudiments that he fears on that account that he may have bestowed labour in vain on the Galatians. So grave a judgment on the observance of seasons may startle us if we do not consider what the apostle really is condemning.

I. THERE IS A RIGHT REGARD FOR SEASONS. The sabbath was made for man, and it is therefore good for man that he should make use of the one day in the week that is set apart for rest and worship. Clearly if other seasons, such as Christmas, Easter, the coming of the new year, the harvest, etc., can be utilized profitably, the recognition of them may be justified on good grounds.

1. The profitable arrangement of time. There is a time for everything. Christ did not utter his parables of judgment at the wedding least in Cana. We need time for worship. Though we should ever live in the spirit of prayer, we must still have distinct seasons of undistracted devotion if our religious life is to be deep and vigorous. It often happens, moreover, that what can be done at any time is not done at all. As it is well to set aside a definite portion of one's income for charitable purposes, lest too little or even none should be left after satisfying innumerable personal claims - though really if we love our neighbour as ourselves we shall count nothing wholly our own - so, while God demands all our time, and while any season is suitable for devotion, some time must be set aside for worship, or the busy work of life will absorb the whole.

2. The exigencies of public worship. The social requirements of worship make set seasons necessary when all the worshippers can mutually agree to assemble themselves together. The same principle requires definite places of worship.

3. The influence of association. We are all more or less affected by sentiment. Birthdays, wedding-days, and death-days, days of joy and days of sorrow, are chronicled in our almanacs, and the recurrence of them naturally raises sympathetic emotions. The same applies to the great Christian anniversaries, and the power of association may help us to profit by the lessons of the Incarnation at Christmas and of the Resurrection at Easter.


1. Regarding the mere observance of the seasons as a virtue on its own account. The means receives the credit due only to the end. Mere "sabbath-keeping" is no good thing. The question is, "What good do we do or gain through use of the privileges of the day?"

2. The idea that the holy season sanctifies what would be otherwise common.

3. Making the sanctity of the day an excuse for neglecting duty. This was the fault of hypocritical Pharisees in the time of our Lord. Charity was sinned against that the sabbath might be respected.

4. Treating the religious observance of the holy season as an excuse for irreligion at other seasons. How many in Roman Catholic countries seem to think that attendance at Mass in the morning gives an indulgence for attendance at the theatre in the evening! How many Protestants seem to think that cessation from business on Sunday shows so much respect for religion that all the work of the week may be carried on in utter worldliness! Surely it is best not to put up the shutters on the first day of the week, if this act is only a piece of hypocrisy intended to cover the sin of using false weights and measures and selling adulterated goods on the other six days. In conclusion, let us remember that each man must draw the line between the harmless use and the dangerous observance of seasons for himself. It depends much on natural constitution and on early habits. If some Christians seem rather over-observant of days, those who with St. Paul regard all days, the sabbath included, as in themselves equally holy, are not to judge their weaker brethren, but to reverence their devotion and to be charitable to their failing (Romans 14:5, 6). - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.

WEB: You observe days, months, seasons, and years.

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