Every country and religion has their own holidays that get celebrated. Some counties have lots of days for celebration. Families all over the world celebrate these holidays in different ways and to different degrees. Let’s just take a typical year and begin with the big one, Christmas. Then we have New Years in just a few days later. Then there is Orthodox Christmas and Chinese New Year and then Groundhog’s Day, then Valentine’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day comes next, which is a fun holiday if you have an affinity for leprechauns. Easter rounds out the spring celebrations. Once we come to summer we have the various independence days like Merdeka in Malaysia, Cinco de Mayo in Mexico, and the Fourth of July. We also have Labor Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Memorial Day. As we round the corner to the fall (at least in the northern hemisphere) there are celebrations like Canadian Thanksgiving, Hari Raya, Deepavali, Halloween, and US Thanksgiving. Then we are back to Christmas. In between all these “formal” holidays are all the personal holidays, which are dominated by Birthdays, anniversaries, wedding parties, baby showers, house warming parties, and retirement parties.
Each one of these holidays and celebrations has their own meanings. Most of these are for remembrance of a special event in history. Others are to remind us of a special occasion or special people. Some are just plain fun and a good excuse to throw a party.
God loves a good party as well. Why else would Jesus turn water into wine. In John chapter 2, Jesus goes to a wedding party. His first miracle is performed at a party. At other times, Jesus talks about the great banquet in Luke 14:15, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” In Luke 15, the parable of the prodigal son talks about the father throwing a feast at the return of his son. This was not some somber, sacred party. This was a full-blown party with music, dancing, wine, and a fatted calf for dinner. Parties and celebrations are part of who we are and what God desires us to do.
However, most of the celebrations we observe have one thing in common. They are not specifically called out in the Bible as times of celebration set aside by God. God does have something to say about remembering important days and celebrating them. His special days or celebrations are called feasts.
God asks us to celebrate His feasts, known as the Feasts of the Lord. Some of you might be asking what are the Feasts of the Lord? If you do know about them, you probably are saying those are Jewish holidays. Besides Passover, most Christians have not heard about the rest of the Feasts. Many don’t realize that Pentecost highlighted in Act 2, is actually a feast of the Lord. There are seven feasts, which are outlined in Leviticus 23.
The feasts are a blueprint for God’s appointed times throughout the year. The feasts take on a number of different layers and aspects. On a personal level, they are meant to be a special time with God! Just like the Sabbath, where God wants to set an appointment with you, He set aside Seven Feasts (a total of eighteen days) that He is requesting a meeting with you. If He were to use a calendar app, I am sure a calendar invitation would show up.
These appointed days are to be a time to stop the busyness of life and remember God. We are to reflect on the Fathers Love and His mercy. It is a time for celebration, joy, relationship, and remembering God’s work in our lives. There is another dimension to the Feasts, which is God redemptive plan for humanity. In Colossians 2:16–17, we are told, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of things that were to come.” This passage is referring to the Feasts or appointed times of the Lord and how they pointed to Jesus.
Today starts the feast of Tabernacles, where God came down and lived with the Israelites after escaping Egypt. In two weeks, many will be celebrating Halloween. So it is a good time to think about what we celebrate and why. Tomorrow, I will walk through the seven feasts and their meanings to us as Christians.