Rethinking holidays and the resistance we got from pastoral colleagues
When our children were born (they are close in age), my husband and I started really thinking about the Biblical feast days. We thought through the types of holidays and traditions we would want them to grow up with. We were familiar with the Jewish holidays and had participated in Passover seders and church-sponsored Feast of Tabernacles events, but we still celebrated Christmas and Easter. We were good about keeping the celebrations as focused on the LORD as possible – never incorporating santa claus or Easter eggs, but we definitely enjoyed the Christmas Eve candlelight services and the Easter sunrise services. We are both pastors, so of course we loved these events! We were trained to lead them!
Sometimes we were met with resistance from our colleagues. They wondered why we always refused to host Easter egg hunts. Pastors in the community would invite us to host joint activities of this type and we would never participate. Many would ask questions like, “Why would you turn down an opportunity to get extra visitors into your church?” They’d move from questioning us to judging us: “This is a great church growth model, and you are not taking advantage of it.” Sorry, but we have always cared much more about Truth than numbers. And we’ve been blessed because of it.
Sadly, when we tried to share what we knew about the Biblical Feast Days, most of our pastoral colleagues made it clear they’d rather just keep the status quo. Today, few church leaders want to embrace anything that might mess with the Sunday morning offerings.
So, we decided to be different. And it has been an awesome adventure!
Choosing to celebrate Biblical feasts rather than Christmas/Easter
Colored eggs inspired by the Ishtar or Eostre’s fertility cults never seemed to make sense to us as a positive testimony of the Resurrection victory of our Savior. (For consistency, let me inform you we do not use the boiled egg on our seder plate as is also customary in Jewish tradition). If the Messiah, the Son of God, rose from the dead in victory, is that not enough of a powerful message? Why do we need the help of rabbits to tell the Good News in a compelling way? The Resurrection really doesn’t need embellishment.
Similarly, “everybody” knows that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25. So why continue to perpetuate this day as Jesus’ birthday? Instead of giving the world ammunition to accuse Christians of being delusional and embracing idolatry, why not learn how Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) birth fits into the holy-days given by God Himself? Christmas trees have nothing to do with a baby in a manger. Bunnies don’t lay eggs nor do they rise from the dead. My question has become a simple one: Why, my dear Christian brothers and sisters, why do you participate in these traditions?
We decided that our children should be raised with the holidays given to us by the LORD and described in detail in the Bible. We began to realize there are so many of them that they wouldn’t be missing out on anything! The LORD has given us so many wonderful feast days that help us see His handiwork in our lives throughout the year.
2022 list of Biblical Feast Days, traditional Jewish holidays and other dates of interest for the year
Here is a list of the Biblical holidays, traditional Jewish holidays, and other notable dates for 2022. The appointed times described in Leviticus 23 have exact specifications as to their dates so some people attempt to more closely align the dates using lunar calculations. I respect this attempt since the Gregorian calendar does not perfectly match, but our family uses the commonly accepted dates of the Jewish calendar.
Each of them has major significance to any believer who recognizes that they are part of Israel. The appointed times (moedim) are, of course, set feasts that our LORD established as “appointments” with us. He wants us to gather, to assemble, and He wants to meet with us and celebrate with us! He wants us to understand the fullness of the salvation reality – that our Passover Lamb has come, has been sacrificed, and has been raised again as the Firstfruits of the Resurrection harvest!
Some believers choose not to celebrate Purim or Hanukkah. I find there is great value in both, and will write about that another time. Similarly, one might wonder if you are not living in Israel, why care about Yom HaShoah or Israel’s independence day? But remember, whether you were born ethnically Jewish or have been grafted into the community of Israel, Israel’s victories are your victories, just as Israel’s sorrows are our collective sorrows. We weep with those who weep and we rejoice with those who rejoice.
Dates for your calendar
Here is a listing of the Biblical feast days. If you would like a FREE downloadable PDF, subscribe to our newsletter, and you will receive it straight to your inbox!
March 16 Purim
April 15 Passover/Pesach
April 16-23 Unleavened Bread
April 17 Firstfruits/Yom HaBikkurim/Resurrection
April 27 Holocaust Remembrance Day/Yom HaShoah
May 3 Israeli Memorial Day/Yom HaZikaron
May 4 Israel’s Independence Day
May 28 Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushalayim)
June 4 Shavu’ot
September 25 Yom Teruah/Feast of Trumpets/Rosh HaShanah
October 4 Yom Kippur
October 9-16 Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot
December 18-26 Hanukkah
May your year be most especially blessed!
If you are new to celebrating the Biblical feast days and need some help or encouragement, please don’t hesitate to reach out. It can be a lot of information to take in when you are new to it all! We’d be happy to guide you or give you some pointers! Shalom!
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