Discover His heart: He is blessed by our celebration of His goodness
As somewhat of a foodie, I am immediately attracted to any chapter in the Bible that is all about feasts. Foodie or not, all of us have good memories of holidays, festivals and celebrations through the years, most involving visits with family and friends and consuming lots and lots of good food. As a child, I knew it was Thanksgiving when I woke to the smell of roasting turkey and pumpkin pie, and Christmas was undoubtedly right around the corner when I smelled cookies baking in the oven all day long. What birthday celebration is complete without the traditional decorated cake with gooey buttercream frosting? Decorated eggs at Easter and grilled hot dogs on the Fourth! We have so many memories of delightful days spent celebrating momentous occasions.
@ Leviticus 23
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as official days for holy assembly.’” (1-2) The feast or festivals mentioned in Leviticus 23 played a significant role each year in the lives of the Israelites. Life was difficult during those early years on the road to Canaan, and the festivals were welcomed opportunities for relaxation and celebration for the Israelites.
The feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread centered around their deliverance from Egypt; the feasts of First Harvest, Harvest (Pentecost) and Trumpets were feasts of thanksgiving for God’s provision and blessing on their lives. The Day of Atonement was actually a day of fasting as offerings were given to atone for their sin as individuals and as a nation, and the feast of shelters celebrated God’s protection and guidance in the wilderness. These feasts were observed throughout the centuries, including the time of Christ, but for most of this time period, the impact of what they were celebrating was lost because their hearts were seeking other gods and other things to worship.
Often we are so busy with all the preparation and festivities for our holidays, we, too, forget what we’re celebrating. For secular society, this is true, but even as Christians, we forget. Our hearts are there, but our lives get so very busy. If we think about it, we can see that the celebration of Jesus at Christmas and at Easter is a combination of all the Jewish feasts. With thankful hearts we celebrate the deliverance and atonement for our sins, so grateful for the tiny babe who came and grew to become our sacrifice as well as our Shepherd who guides and protects us through our wilderness.
We, however, look forward to yet another feast, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself…Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” (Revelations 19:7,9) All other feasts, festivals and celebrations pale in comparison to this wedding feast when we, His Bride, join with our Savior to celebrate eternal life together. This foodie is not going to miss this one! I’ve already received the invitation!
I decided in my heart several years ago that I was going to spend some time every day celebrating Christmas and Easter. While no food is involved in these daily celebrations, the joy is amazing. Every day I thank God for sending His only Son. He didn’t send a substitute or facsimile. He sent the only part of Him that was His Son, His Heir, with the knowledge of what the future held for Him. Every day I thank Jesus for His willingness to come, leaving a place more glorious than I can imagine, willingness to suffer sin and humiliation for me on the cross. And every day I thank Him for the empty tomb and the power of the risen Lord. Sometimes I sing, sometimes I dance and sometimes I just sit and visit with Him, but regardless, it’s a grand celebration. Christmas and Easter every day!
Moving Forward: After celebrating this morning, I think it’s time to go out and spread some Christmas cheer!
Tomorrow @ 2 Kings 21-25