You may have a family holiday tradition that goes back to your childhood or maybe even further up the genealogical tree.
Waking up at 5am to prep Thanksgiving dinner with your mom, or baking cookies on Christmas Eve is something you wait all year to do.
So you may be happy to know that God has already lined up several holidays throughout the year that not only connects you with family, but with Jesus as well.
You may be one of the many Christians who occasionally thumbs through the Old Testament, like when your Sunday School class is reviewing the Ten Commandments or when you’re teaching your children about creation.
It is intimidating trying to pronounce those ancient Hebrew names or understand the priestly offering system, but when we are willing to hold the value intended in all of Scripture, we find countless revelations of our Messiah and an intimate look into a people that He holds dear.
Jesus spoke of the beginning (Matthew 19:4-5), the Law of Moses (Matthew 5:17), and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). He knew that connecting the Scriptures that were already revealed to man with the promises He brought as the Messiah were crucial in reaching the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24).
And there are several holidays of the Old Testament that Jews still practice and uphold immensely that offer something for Christians too.
Participating in the Biblical feasts prepare the way for the Messiah’s return and gets you involved in parties cited to be pleasing to the Father.
Here are some Biblical feasts we can keep in mind as we gather with friends and family this holiday season. Perhaps you may decide to begin celebrating these holiday and make even more precious memories!
1. Passover – Leviticus 23:4-8
This feast began during a dark, but revolutionary time that paved the way for the Hebrews to finally enter the Promised Land.
The last plague in Egypt was the angel of death who took the lives of every firstborn son, but “passed over” the sons of Israel who followed God’s instruction to put the blood of a lamb around their doorposts (Exodus 12).
John the Baptist said in John 1:29, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Jesus’ blood is what allows the death we deserve for our sins to be passed over us, allowing us to live in His grace and mercy.
2. Unleavened Bread – Leviticus 23:6
The joy of God’s blessings doesn’t end after Passover. Next is the seven-day feast of Unleavened Bread.
After the death of Pharaoh’s son, he finally permitted the Israelites to leave Egypt.
Not wanting to give the Pharaoh any time to change his mind, the Israelites left in a hurry, omitting the yeast from their bread (as any baker knows, waiting for bread to rise is a lengthy process).
To remember the day God’s promise of freedom was fulfilled (Exodus 6:6), nothing with leavening is eaten for a week. Jesus said on Passover with His disciples that the bread represents His body that was broken for us so we could be freed from sin (1 Corinthians 11:25-26), just as the Israelites had been broken from their slavery in Egypt.
3. Feast of Weeks – Leviticus 23:16
Feast of Weeks is commonly called Pentecost (which means “50 days”) among Christian communities. This Biblical celebration comes exactly seven weeks after First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10).
The Jewish people were to bring the first harvest of grain to the Temple as an offering, along with two loaves of bread.
Harvest feasts were a big deal during the Biblical age because it represented the blessings from God of being fed another season. Our bodies are satiated with food, but our souls need Jesus.
On the Pentecost after Jesus went up to be at the right hand of the Father, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, causing them to speak in different languages. The Word tells us that three thousand people were added to the Lord’s believers that day (Acts 2:40).
4. Feast of Trumpets – Leviticus 23:24
On this joyous day, God set aside a day of rest from labor where a food offering was given. The Bible reads that this day is to be “commemorated with trumpet blasts.” Traditionally, a shofar (ram’s horn) is blown to make the sound all Jews recognize as a call to attention.
When Jesus returns, we will be making an excited ruckus as we bask in His glory, leaving our labor and bringing our best food to the party of a lifetime.
5. Day of Atonement – Leviticus 16, 23:26-32
The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur as it is called in Hebrew, is a solemn time where the High Priest, Kohen Ha Gadol, went into the Holy of Holies of the Temple to burn incense and sprinkle blood from a sacrifice to atone for his sins and the sins of the Israelites.
In Hebrews 9:12, we are told that Jesus is the only One who can atone for our sins permanently.
Our debt has been paid by the sprinkling of Jesus’ blood and this yearly celebration can remind us of the sacrifice that was made to rectify the sins of the world.
6. Feast of Tabernacles or Booths – Leviticus 23:24
Following the Day of Atonement is a celebration of God’s provision and protection of the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. As it is commanded, the Jews live in temporary dwelling places (called sukkot in Hebrew) for the week-long gathering, just as the Israelites did in the wilderness.
God dwelled among the Israelites in the desert just as He dwelled among us through His son Jesus. The promise of our Savior’s return is celebrated in this feast, when Jesus comes to dwell among His followers and give us a lasting hope forever.
While the Jewish people traditionally celebrate these Biblically-appointed times, as “members of the tribe” through Jesus (Ephesians 3:6), we have a personal invite to these events.
These holidays allow us to shift our focus away from the worldly distractions and back towards the promises of God and His hope, grace, and mercy.
Please let us know in the comments section if you have celebrated a Biblical feast and what spiritual blessings you received from it!