“You shall rejoice before the LORD your God… at the place that the LORD your God will choose.” Deuteronomy 16:11
What we celebrate says a great deal about us. You can tell a great deal about a family, a church, or even a nation by what they choose to celebrate.
When someone sends you a birthday card, they are celebrating your life. We celebrate anniversaries because we value marriage. All over the world Christians celebrate Christmas (the birth of God’s Son) and Easter (the death and resurrection of Christ). Celebrations matter because they identify what we value.
Right in the middle of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses told the people, “When you get into the land, rejoice. Celebrate! Enjoy what God is giving you.” He told them to “rejoice in your feast… so that you will be altogether joyful” (16:14-15). Moses was telling God’s people to observe specific occasions and events with the single purpose of cultivating joy.
There are other feasts and festivals in the Old Testament, but Moses picked out three to talk about: the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths. These feasts were a big deal because they were a massive gathering of God’s people in one location (16:5-6, 11, 15). They were tied to specific events that had special significance for the people of God, and celebrating these events every year strengthened their faith and increased their joy. What you know can leave you unaffected; what you celebrate can shape your life.
What celebrations have impacted your faith most deeply? Why?