Happy 4th of July, Friends! As a family we’ll be attending the local parade, having a barbecue, and of course, some will attend the fireworks tonight. All of this has me thinking about the importance of holidays to families.
Celebrating holidays was God’s idea. Did you know that throughout the Old Testament, God established holidays as a time to celebrate and remember? God established the weekly sabbath as a time to rest and remember that He could be trusted with the work. Families gathered around the table, ate certain special foods, and remembered that God could be trusted.
The Feast of Tabernacles was another holiday that God established in the Fall (Leviticus 23:33-44). It was a holiday to remember and celebrate God’s deliverance, protection, and provision. During this celebration, the Jewish people camped out in tents so they could remember God’s faithfulness to them in the wilderness when they fled Egypt. During their wilderness wanderings, the Israelites had often camped in desolate places – sites far from the comfort of shade or an oasis. However, “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light (Exodus 13:21). On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, a specially appointed priest poured water from a golden pitcher over a rock, symbolizing God’s divine provision of the water that gushed from the rock in the wilderness (Numbers 20:8-11). While the priest poured, trumpets blasted and choirs formed a procession singing praise to the Holy One of Israel. Crowds marched, waving palm branches and singing Psalm 113-118. It was a glorious and beautiful celebration.
Every holiday offers us a time to remember and a time to celebrate.
Remember. The holiday we celebrate today is simply a national holiday remembering our freedom as a nation. However, as you gather with family and friends, as you barbecue and eat special foods, as you gather around the table, remember God’s faithfulness. Look back and remember where you were on other 4th of July celebrations and then reflect on how God has provided and been faithful since then.
I firmly believe that holidays give us unique opportunities with our kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews to remember the goodness of the Lord. As we take time around the family table to share stories, laugh, and celebrate, we pass down faith in a God who is always faithful. Now, be careful – there’s nothing worse than a lecture around the dinner table. But as you remember events of the past, you can gently tuck in reminders of the goodness of God and His provision.
Celebrate. I think many of us have seriously undervalued a good celebration. Jesus went to all kinds of parties. He laughed and danced and celebrated! He went to many dinner parties and enjoyed Himself. Every holiday gives us the opportunity to celebrate! I believe celebration is a spiritual discipline. Life is hard. However, when we take time to celebrate the small things as well as the big things, life becomes more enjoyable. Think about it. You will be celebrating the goodness of God for all eternity in heaven. So why not start now?
Celebrating is particularly good for children. As children are brought into celebrations, their little joy-centers are filled and nourished. They begin to understand that though there are difficult moments in life, life can be wonderful and joyful.
Friend, have fun today! Celebrate! Don’t just celebrate our nation’s freedom, celebrate your freedom in Christ. Use the day as a day to draw closer to your family and friends. Enjoy them. Gather around the table and enjoy conversation, laughter, and the uniqueness of each person.
Friend, if you haven’t purchased How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk, grab a copy and invest in your kids this summer by listening.
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