“The acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited to his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture (Exod 20:4-6; Deut 4:15-20; 12:32; Mat 4:9-10; 15:9; Acts 17:25; Col 2:23).”
Westminster Confession of Faith 21:1
God forbids us from worshiping him “after our own heart and eyes,” because our fallen minds will cause us to go “a whoring;” true holiness is to worship God according to His commandments (Num. 15:39-40). Only the mind of God is able to guide us into holy worship, we are not able to do it ourselves. Man made holy days and ceremonies are an affront to the Head of the Church because man has no power or authority to sanctify days or to invent elements of worship “by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:29; cf. 1 Kings 12:33). Assigning spiritual significance to something Scripture doesn’t is the epitome of will worship (Col. 2:23), i.e. idolatry.
“What is idolatry, if this is not, to ascribe to rites of man’s devising, the power and virtue of doing that which none but He to whom all power in heaven and earth belongs can do?”
George Gillespie, A Dispute Against the English Popish Ceremonies, p. 192.
God alone has the prerogative and authority to set apart a special day of worship and rest. Human beings have no authority to sanctify a day, we cannot worship God as we please, we must worship God how He has told us He wants to be worshiped. Christ as Head of the Church has not sanctified any other day but the Lord’s Day for New Testament worship. Therefore, to add our own church calendar to Christ’s church calendar would be an affront to His headship over the Church. We ought to sanctify by observing what God has instituted, not by attempting to impress God by our ingenuity and innovation in worship.
“There is no power either civil or ecclesiastical can make an holy day: no King, no Kirk: only the Lord that made the day, and distinguished it from the night: he hath sanctified the seventh day…If the special sanctification of a day to an holy use dependeth upon Gods commandment and institution, then neither King nor Kirk representative may make an holy day.”
Perth Assembly, p. 67.
While Christmas and Easter may not be considered inherently holier than other days, they are “holy days” in the sense we are speaking here in respect to their purpose and use because they are set apart for religious exercises. Specific biblical texts must be chosen unlike the Lord’s Day where it is left free to teach any part of God’s Word. Unbiblical ceremonies are added, such as the lighting of candles, the waving of palm branches, and certain decorations with intended religious significance, all of which violate the Regulative Principle of Worship and subvert the headship of Christ over His Church. Thus, in actuality, the holy days of man’s appointment are not merely equal with, but “in solemnity surpass the moral Sabbath appointed by the Lord” (Ibid.).