Autumn is my favorite season of the year! There is so much going on and to look forward to. And now, the Fall Feasts are upon us!
My background is definitely not Jewish, but I did marry a man of Jewish lineage. In researching many of the most important celebrations of the Jewish/Messianic heritage, I have found such a depth of revelation and a desire to share this amazing heritage with our kids. And, since Jesus was a Jew, I figured there may be some worthwhile things to learn from that rich heritage!
God loves patterns and He loves a good party! From the movement of the sun and moon to the cycle of the seasons…there are patterns penetrating every aspect of our world and lives. In the Old Testament, we see how God instituted various Feasts, fasts and Sabbaths for our benefit. The primary reason given is always the same: to remember that He is the Lord…the Sabbath day is also to actually rest and remember that He is our Provider (and not us!) Fasts remind us that He is our Sustainer and His Word, our very Bread!
The Feasts remind us of specific points in time when God has shown up in a HUGE way!
This is a work in progress in our family to get to where we incorporate each of these into our calendar year. But I look forward to bringing these into our family life with a creativity which honors God and reminds us of His ongoing Lordship.
Rosh Hashanah (aka: The Jewish New Year) is only days away! It is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the previous year and to dedicate the upcoming year to God, entrusting our lives, our finances, our ministries, and all that we put our hands to, to Him. The traditional foods of this celebration are sweet, in anticipation of the good things God will bring in our new year. My personal favorite is sliced apples dipped in honey!
So how is Rosh Hashanah celebrated?
There are really endless methods, but I don’t believe the important thing is to focus on the method so much as it is to focus on the memorial, the remembrance of God in our lives. For example, one Rosh Hashanah, we had extended family over for a huge, intricate meal. I hand-kneaded challah bread and made multiple traditional Jewish dishes. And I learned so much about the symbolism behind them. Another New Year, we stepped away from the daily distractions to spend some time in nature as a family and seek God’s vision for the upcoming year. You’ll see in Leviticus 23:23-25 how this celebration is also called the Feast of Trumpets. The blast of trumpets every day for 30 days was a reminder to examine yourself and return to God in every area of life. A great activity for kids is to make little trumpets out of paper towel rolls, decorate them and let them blow their trumpets.
Whether you follow the Messianic calendar or the traditional Christian calendar, or if the primary celebrations of your year are just Christmas and Easter, I want to encourage you to use these reoccurring holidays to remember and glorify our Lord.
It’s about the making of a memorial, not the limitations of a method.
By the way, Rosh Hashanah this year begins at sundown on October 2, 2016. And, if you’re interested in diving deeper into how the traditional Feasts impact us as believers today, I recommend The Torah Blessing by Larry Huch. It’s a fabulous resource with great ideas, without placing a burden of legalism on believers. Remember, it’s not about the method…it’s about establishing a memorial honoring the Lordship of God in your life.