Saturday, November 12, 2011

Biblical (Jewish) Holidays

I've mentioned several times over the last few months that we've started celebrating the Biblical (Jewish) Holidays.  I thought I'd share a little more about that, and some of the resources that have led us on our journey.

As I think is the case for most Christians, I was raised with the understanding that Jesus fulfilled the Jewish holidays so they no longer needed to be observed. The one exception being, as a Seventh-day Adventist, we still keep Sabbath since it's commanded in the 10 Commandments and is a memorial of creation, which wasn't fulfilled.

Then a few years ago I happened to be reading something written by someone who DOES keep the Biblical holidays as a Christian (I don't remember who) and mention was made of the fact that the spring holidays pointed to Jesus' first coming and the fall holidays point to His Second Coming. That threw me. If the fall holidays point to his SECOND COMING, why aren't we still celebrating them? It has been on my "to study" list ever since, but never made it to the top of the list. I DID, at some point when it was on sale, purchase the ebook version of Biblical Holidays, but never found time to read it.

Over the past year or so I *have* done more studying/reading/thinking about Sabbath, and how God intends it to be celebrated (not just kept). As a part of that journey, I discovered a wonderful company called Wholesome Learning. Their products are available from both Currclick and the TOS Store. One thing to note, for some reason, the mp3 files from Currclick have a kind of strange sounding voice saying something about "this file was purchased from" that takes some getting used to. The TOS mp3s don't have this (or anything like it, obviously it wouldn't say it was purchased from currclick). So, if the price is the same, I prefer to purchase the audio files from TOS for this reason.

So anyway, I discovered Wholesome Learning, and purchased their mp3 Let's Celebrate the Feast of Shabbat. At that point, the girls and I listened to it. They liked the idea of having a special meal, but not the blessings and such. So we started small. We decided that soup would be a good Shabbat (Friday night) meal and accordingly we went to TJ Maxx and found some pretty bowls and "fancy" glasses. We started lighting candles and setting the table nicely on Friday night. And I started getting Challah bread sometimes. For a long time that's all the girls wanted to do with it, and that was fine. . .

Meanwhile, this fall, someone on a message board I'm on mentioned that Rosh Hashanah was coming up in about a week. I had my typical "oh yeah, I need to research the fall feasts" thought, followed by the (also typical), but it's coming up so soon, I don't have time to study it properly to celebrate them this year . . . and then I thought back to what I'd been learning/realizing about Shabbat. Regardless of whether or not any of this is "required", it's a chance to celebrate God! As I've told the girls several times, to God, it makes no more sense to say "we have to keep Sabbath" than it would to them for me to say "we have to celebrate Christmas" (that was a real ah-ha moment for them LOL). And what I realized this year is, I don't HAVE to have all the answers, my children LOVE any chance to have a party and whether the feast days are required or were done away with or whatever, there's certainly nothing WRONG with celebrating God's leading. So we decided to just "jump in".  I dug out my Biblical Holidays book and started reading about Rosh Hashanah, but I also remembered Wholesome Learning and went looking. Sure enough they have an mp3 called Children, Let's Celebrate Rosh Hashanah! and also a Rosh Hashanah Scavenger Hunt. The Children, Let's Celebrate was a great way to introduce Rosh Hashanah to my girls. It gave us a starting point, then I was able to read them bits & pieces from Biblical Holidays to help them understand more about it. We had great fun, I talk about it a little bit in this post. I should note that the weather didn't cooperate for us to use the scavenger hunt, so I filed it away to use next year, it looks like great fun!

And so began our journey into the world of Biblical Holidays. The girls are LOVING it! What child wouldn't jump at the chance to have extra PARTIES!! We've continued to use the Wholesome Learning mp3s as a great intro and then supplement with information from the Biblical Holidays book and various online sources.  While the individual workshops are wonderfully affordable, you can also get a"bundle" product to learn about all the (or at least most of the) feasts.

Jumping back to our Shabbat celebration, once we began learning about, and celebrating, the other Biblical holidays our girls were ready to add to our Shabbat celebration. One Friday evening they decided they wanted to wear scarves on their heads. With their renewed interest we relistened to the workshop about Shabbat again and added more pieces. Now they were interested in learning the Hebrew blessings, so we're working on that (I found this little ebook helpful in teaching them the Hebrew blessing for the candles, I'd love it if they made more of these for the other blessings). We've also started making our own challah bread which is not only yummy, but cheaper and healthier than store-bought!

This has been such a fun journey for us. As we move through November we are already making plans to celebrate Hanukkah as well as Christmas next month. It's fun to see my children soo excited about what God has done!

Before I close I want to mention one other product-line I've been enjoying from Wholesome Learning. When I was reading the Dahveed series (GREAT BOOKS, by the way, I'm impatiently waiting for her to release book #4!!!) it really inspired me to learn at least a little bit of Hebrew, I don't have much time, or brain-power to try to learn it like an "adult" (giggle), but I noticed that Wholesome Learning has a "Read Hebrew Today" program. The price is reasonable, and it's geared for young children on up, so I decided to try it. I am LOVING it!! I won't be translating the Bible, or carrying on conversations in Hebrew anytime soon, but it's giving me a starting point that I can fit into little bits of time in the car or wherever and I'm having fun with it. I'd like to introduce it to my girls, but figure right now we need to stick with Spanish and not confusing things with a 3rd language. So for now it's just for me! 

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for Amazon, Currclick and the TOS Store. Items purchased through the links in this post will provide me with a small commission from these companies. I only recommend products that I believe in and all opinions are my own!


Briana said...

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing your journey. I think I should add a Jewish history module to our history curr.

Mozi Esmé said...

I've never thought of the fall holidays pointing to Christ's second coming - thanks for some food for thought! I've been fascinated with the holidays but not enough to really think through how to celebrate them today. As a kid, Friday supper was usually a special time, but I've lost that as an adult - it's more a time to crash! It would be nice to pass the specialness on to my daughter.

Jesse said...

We've been celebrating the Holy Days for the last 6 or so years. They are such a beautiful picture of God's plan for all of mankind - it is too bad that their significance has gotten lost to most Christians through the years. It has been an interesting journey, that is for sure!

Thanks for stopping by my blog, mama! I appreciate your comments!

Kelly said...

We have been celebrating the Jewish holidays (all of them) for several years. Some are easier to incorporate and participate in (Channukah) then others (Yom Kippur)for little ones, but my girls have LOVED studying them, learning more about the Jewish culture, feast, and festivals and the connection to Christianity as we know it.

Great blog and thanks for stopping by mine!