Appointments with God
Several years ago, I suggested we celebrate Hanukkah alongside Christmas. I also suggested we celebrate Passover just to learn more about it. That was then.
As a teen, my mother chose to host a Passover seder at our home as an educational experience. We passed the seder plate, dipped parsley in salt water, ate lamb and those huge crackers, and drank grape juice. It was sort of fun, and sort of a chore. I didn’t understand.
As an adult, that familiar feast rang in my ears often, and when my children were still in elementary school, I had the same desire to participate in that. Fortunately, that year we met another family who had celebrated Passover for several years. We invited them to come to our house that year if they would be willing to lead it and teach us.
After that first year of Passover, my soul began to burn to learn more. We decided to celebrate Hanukkah alongside Christmas that year, and it was a very special time, even though we really didn’t know what we were doing.
Before Passover came back around, we began digging. An old friend’s words about Christmas began to ring in my ears. A scripture here and there made me ask questions. And before we knew it, we were digging into scripture to find out what it all meant.
Did God want us to celebrate the feasts?
Which feasts should we celebrate?
Is Christmas okay to celebrate?
What about Easter?
What other holidays do we need to learn more about?
Before too long, I had made up my mind that I could no longer celebrate Christmas and Easter. My husband, however, remained unsure. He began to insist I attend church on Easter, which was just weeks away by then. I felt strongly in my spirit that I did not want to participate in all that, but I agreed to go if he insisted.
Then he began to pray about it and read about it some more. Before Easter came, he was convinced, as well.
By sticking to our convictions, however, we had just isolated ourselves, and it was an uncomfortable place. Our church didn’t understand. Our friends didn’t understand. Our families didn’t understand. But we had to obey what we knew to be true.
Passover, that year, we hosted a huge feast with friends and family, on the evening of a weekly Bible study we held at our house. We celebrated and explained Passover to about 20 people that night. We had fallen in love with God’s feasts.
Our passion for the feasts only grew. We added in Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur, Feast of Tabernacles, and Hanukkah. Later we added Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits (the Resurrection) and Pentecost.
We continued to learn and add, and eventually began keeping the Sabbath on Saturdays beginning at sunset Friday evenings.
Oh we were so imperfect at all of it, but God still honored what we gave. Each year, at each feast, He continued to reveal His truths that we now readily see in His feast days.
One of those simple truths was that each of these feasts was an appointment with God. In fact, the Hebrew word we translate as feasts just as easily translates to appointment. God designed the world. He created seasons, the stars and moon, the sun, and wrote a whole play. And each year there are seven appointments where He has scheduled to meet with us.
For all our lives, we missed those appointments, simply because the church doesn’t recognize them. We felt the loss of those missed appointments. We mourned them. We repented.
Because it’s not about legalism. It’s not about the Old Testament or sacrifices. It’s not about ritual and formality. It’s about a love story that God wrote for us to be participants in. It’s about His love demonstrated for us all throughout the year in so many different ways, in foreshadowing and deeper meaning than I am sure I even understand.
And so we decided to begin celebrating these feast days because He first loved us. Because we love him. It was a natural overspilling of our love for Him and not about the law at all. It’s where we meet him for a special occasion, an anniversary celebration, so to speak, where through some degree of ritual and formality we profess our love for each other.
Yes, we gave up Christmas and Easter. We also gave up Valentine’s and Halloween. The pagan origins of those holidays, meant we could not celebrate those with a clean conscience any longer. We don’t know very many people who have made the same choice and we don’t expect that you would necessarlly understand it either. We are different, and we don’t expect others to make the same choice until they are convicted by the Holy Spirit to do so. But that is our story.