Celebrating the Biblical Feasts | Remember

Celebrating the Biblical Feasts | Remember


Have you ever been interested in the Biblical Feasts? Here is part one of a brief introduction to God’s feasts and how God uses them.

As a teenager, I did a week long internship at the Vancouver Opera. It was a fantastic experience, especially since at the time I was an aspiring to be an opera singer.

One part of the practicum was that I got to observe a rehearsal of La Traviata at an old church in the city. There were no flourishes, or costumes. Just a piano, the actors, and their movements. It was very simple. But even without the perfection of the real stage, the costumes, the makeup, or the orchestra, I was almost in tears in the end. The voices and acting alone were so powerful that I was drawn right in to the story.

I will never forget the beautiful sounds, and the emotions the music conjured up.

God’s Plan to Remember

If you read my post on Why God Loves Food you’ll remember that I pointed out how I pointed out that God uses the tastes, smells and textures of food to remind us of him in ways that are deeper than words.

God knows our humanness better than we. So he set up a way for us to remember him throughout the generations. No, I’m not talking about the Bible here (though that is one way we remember who He is and what he has done..

He created festivals!
Sometimes they’re referred to as the Jewish Feasts, but I’m going to call them the Biblical Feasts here.

Just thinking about God creating feasts makes me all warm and fuzzy feeling. He could have just left us with some words hewn in rock:: dead and lifeless.

But no! He knows US.

He knows we love food, and flavour, and celebration, and relationship, so he made time for that.
The feasts are more than just excuses to have a good time though, there is multi-faceted intention behind them.

The feasts are there for us to remember, reenact what has happened, or what God has done and to rehearse what is to come.

Let’s get a very quick overview on the feasts.

 

Feasting to the Glory of God

Passover

You’re probably familiar with the Exodus story. The Jews were released from bondage (Exodus 12) and were commanded to keep The Passover in order to remember.
The Christian remembers that we were released from sin as Jesus, the sacrificial lamb died on the cross (1 Corinthians 5:7). The Exodus was a shadow of the greater redemption that came!

Day of First Fruits

This is a special feast celebrating the God’s gift of the early crops. 
Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of first fruits.
We celebrate that Jesus was the first fruit (1 Corinthians 15:20), and we wait for the next fruit – us finally in our resurrected bodies.

Feast of Unleavened Bread

It begins the next night after Passover. Leaven in the Bible typically means sin. God commanded the Jews to abstain from yeast and leaven during the feast. The matzo bread that is eaten is striped, like Jesus’ body (Isaiah 53).

Shavuot (Pentecost)

Exactly 50 days after first fruits there is the Feast of Harvest, which we refer to as Pentecost. After Jesus’ resurrection, he joined the disciples for 40 days and then he told them to wait until the Holy Spirit would come. And he did, exactly on the day of feasts. There was a great harvest of souls (3000) which correlates those lost in Exodus 32:28.

Rosh HaShanah (Feast of Trumpets)

Usually in September we the memorial of trumpets (Leviticus 23:24). The trumpet blowing was a reminder for the worker in the field to stop immediately, and come  for worship in the temple.
We read in the New Testament that the last trumpet sound that will raise the dead and rapture the living (1 Corinthians 15:52 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement

On the Day of Atonement the High Priest of Israel entered the Holy of Holies to make a sacrifice on behalf of himself and Israel. (Leviticus 23:28-32)  It was a time for each person to confess his or her sins from the year.

We know our atonement is in Christ alone, by faith alone. This will be fulfilled when Christ returns again.

Sukkot (Tabernacles)

The Jews remember that God provided shelter for them while they were in the wilderness. They build little shelters outside their houses and live and worship in them for the time.
I have a friend who does this as a family, and I think it’s such a neat way to reenact and remember what God has done.
We know that God will establish his new temple in Jerusalem in the age to come. (Micah 4:1-7)

Shabbat

A very special and holy day that happens once a week. God lays a framework of rest and worship. Some understand the Shabbat as a rehearsal of the peace or shalom to come. One day a week where man, nature, and God are right with one another.
Every Shabbat I’m reminded that the rest and peace that I experience is just a shadow of what is to come. It reminds me to anticipate, and I long even more so for the Return of the King!

Biblical Feasts of Remembering

When you look at all those feasts, they’re pretty much spread right around the year. That means God set it up so that we literally can remember and celebrate him and all that he’s done all year long!

I think of it like Christmas on steroids.

Ok, that’s not a fantastic example.

But growing up in a Mennonite background, Christmas was pretty much the highlight and it only came once a year. How sad.

When I first came across the Shabbat I got totally excited. It was like Christmas every week! Read about that experience here.

God Loves to Party

After I realized there was a whole host of festivals I started to realize that God was pretty interested in us.
I absolutely thinks that he WANTS us to ENJOY him.

He wants us to BE with him.

Not just at Christmas!
Or Easter.

He designed a whole yearly and weekly rhythm for us to continually set our gaze above and remember him.  

It’s so easy to get stuck down in the muck and not remember and celebrate who God is and what he has done.

 

 

Have I just blown you away and you don’t even know where to begin with this all?
Sign up for our family’s Simple Christian Shabbat guide below to get started!

Try it out, and tell me how it went!

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Thank God it’s Friday!

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T G I F – Time to Shabbat

The warm, luxurious smell of fresh bread is spreading through the house.
The anticipation of it manifests, as our mouths start to water.
This is no ordinary bread, and it’s no ordinary day.
It’s Challah, a braided bread especially baked for the Shabbat.

Shab-what?

 

If you have no idea what I’m talking about you’ll find a brief introduction on the Shabbat here: Why You Don’t Deserve a Break

About six years ago, God was illuminating the word “Sabbath” for me all over the place and I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do with it.

“I’m not Jewish, God… what am I supposed to do with this? Why is this so important to you?”

I had a sense there was something missing from my faith life, a lack of direction.  Reading through the Bible, I found all the instances where the Sabbath was spoken about. But I still struggled with what I was supposed to do with the information. I felt a tension between being a Christian and the commandments in the Old Testament for the Jewish people.

Inspired by the Abnormal – A Christian Shabbat Celebration?

While working with YWAM here in Germany, we met a large homeschooling family, who at the time I’d define as “weird, but intriguing”. They told us how they had been celebrating the Shabbat (as they called it) from Friday evening until Saturday – as in the Jewish calendar.

 

They pointed out that the first thing God called holy was in

 

Gen 2:2 …So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.


He called a specific time, the seventh day – the Shabbat – holy (or set apart), for Him.

They explained the Jewish understanding of celebrations and festivals, and the Messianic implications. God created man and nature perfectly, in harmony, and then he rested. We would have gone on to have an eternal Shabbat until sin destroyed the plan.

 

I found this article -Shabbat – God’s Perfect Universe – to be a very helpful and enlightening  perspective on the Shabbat from a Jewish perspective.

 

“On Shabbat, the world reverts in a small way to its perfected state – to a fully functional and harmonious earth, requiring no human effort or intervention. Man does not have to labor to sustain himself. “

 

This family welcomed us into their home one Friday night to experience Shabbat for ourselves.

I was utterly astounded.

Christmas Every Week

Imagine your favourite celebration during the year.

Mine is Christmas. I have great memories of Christmas: the smells, the decorations, the food, the family, the laughter, the food, the eating, the chatting, and the food.

When our little family joined their family and friends and celebrated together, it brought me back to everything I loved about Christmas… but they did it every week!

I was looking for a way to teach my kids about my faith that didn’t just revolve around sitting on a church bench and being talked at. This experience hit the nail on the head. And the best thing of all was this teaching method was ancient, tried and true.

The Shabbat Liturgy

The wife lit the two Shabbat candles (the Mitzveh), one for creation, and the other redemption. I could smell the delicious bread which represented the body of Christ. We broke it and drank wine as we remembered the blood of Jesus and his broken body. The father prayed and blessed his children, and he read Proverbs 31 over his wife.

Then we all celebrated the end of the week together with great food, great friends and great fun. It was awesome!

Their Shabbat liturgy also contained other elements, but the ones I mentioned above are the ones that stood out the most.

We immediately incorporated it into our family routine.

 

Our Simple Christian Shabbat

For us this has really changed and developed and relaxed over the last six years. Since we aren’t held by any law that tells us how to celebrate, we do so how it suits our family for the season.

Here is what our family strives to include in our Shabbat Tradition:

An Opening Prayer

 

1. Candles – Lit by me (the lady of the house). One for creation, and one for redemption. Normally I ask the kids what they stand for and we take a moment to talk about God’s creation. How did he make it? Then we talk about redemption. Since sin entered perfect creation we have Jesus who comes down as our super-hero savior and “redeems” or “frees” us (explained to little kids). If there are adults visiting I will probably use some other words. But I try to keep it short and simple.

 

 2. Challah – The bread is normally a favourite for our kids and our guests. Everyone LOVES it. It represents Jesus who is the bread of life, and we break it as his body was broken for us.
I will post a recipe soon 🙂

 

 

3. Wine – a great wine for the adults and Apfelschorle (a yummy German drink of sparkling water and apple juice) for the kids .

 

4. Papa blesses each child, and reads Proverbs 31 over the wifey (me) – I love that once a week the kids get a blessing from their father in front of one another at the table. I also love reading Proverbs 31 over and over and over again. It teaches me, and my children, it inspires and makes us laugh sometimes too.

 

5. The Shabbat Shalom Song – I haven’t found it on Youtube to give you an example. So I recorded one of us. Just clap along, you’ll get it. The kids normally love it 🙂

6. A Special Meal – I don’t cook meat that often. So normally it’s a meat dish, and I tend to make ethnic (typically Indian, Afghan, Latin American) food since that generally requires more prep time. We also have dessert on this night, since we don’t have it any other time.

 

7. Guests! We have had seasons where we had someone new every Friday night, and others where it’s really been just our family. But as a general rule, Friday night is the night to invite people! We like to celebrate, and share in God’s goodness together. We like to make people think we’re weird (this big family doing “Shabbat”, what the heck? ), and then we like to spoil them with deliciousness.

 

8. Electronic free – After dinner, we turn off the music, the computer, the phones, and leave them off until Saturday night.

 

This one has a post of it’s own: Electronic Free Saturdays! . We started the Electronic Sabbath this year and Oh my goodness! If you don’t do this. START THIS WEEK!
It’s a challenge at first, and awkward. But I promise you, you’ll love it!
One day a week, no peeps, noises, vibrations, weather checking, music, Facebook, whatever!
We just sit around and enjoy one another and God.

 

As time goes on we will probably include other things. Maybe include longer readings or prayers. But our kids are still pretty young so we will keep it relaxed for now.

3 First Timer Christian Shabbat Tips

 

Especially if you have little children. Preparing a special meal, sitting down and restraining the desire to eat right away is tough.
We have had many Shabbat’s with screaming children, and others where guests show up late, or not at all. So here are some tips to help you get going!

        1. Have humour.
          • Especially when you have children. They tend to ruin everything. Just go with it, try to laugh, try to be silly, the point is to celebrate together and teach about who God is. The food tastes awful? What a great story to have… later. Ha!
        2. Start simple.
          • If cooking isn’t your forté, maybe use that evening as a time to try out new recipes. But don’t overwhelm yourself and go overboard. Maybe a new pasta recipe would suffice?
          • Start in small steps if you find putting on a whole meal overwhelming. Trying starting off with just the candles added to a meal, then add a tablecloth, then napkins and flowers.
            Aim for beauty, peace and pleasantness.
        3. Invite guests.
          • Hospitality is a huge part of God’s heart. We want our Fridays to be an of open home time for guests (friends and strangers) to come, relax, enjoy, and experience God’s rest and peace – His Shabbat
          • You’re not “entertaining”. You’re inviting them into your home and life. Imperfect as it is

Start Your Own Weekly Shabbat!

 

Since I can’t invite you over to my home to celebrate with us (unless you’re in Germany… than drop me a line and we will arrange something) you’re going to have to try it out for yourself!

This is your challenge:

Start this Friday even (or Saturday if that’s better for you). Invite some friends over, make things special, and turn off your electronics for 24 hours.

Then write me here and tell me all about it!

Struggling as a Mom Who needs Rest?

I love this post from Katie at Embracing a Simpler Life. It’s 55 Practical Ideas for how to have a Sabbath as a Mom. So if you’re wondering what YOU as a Mama can specifically do to rest yourself, this giant list of ideas is a fantastic resource. 

Welcome

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I’m Dani.

Canadian born, living in Germany, with my very German husband and four rambunctious kiddos.

When I’m not chasing after my 1 1/2 year old so he doesn’t run onto the road,
I’m running a loud homeschool, doing mundane but glorious household tasks, drinking coffee, reading, learning on Udemy and sleeping.

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My Bookshelf – Must Reads!




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Why You Don’t Deserve a Break

Why You Don’t Deserve a Break

In this article we are going to have a brief overview of the idea of Sabbath and what it means to celebrate a Christian Shabbat. 

You Don’t Deserve a Break. 

Especially you moms out there! You really don’t deserve a break.

It’s not that you’re not hardworking. I know you’ve had your hands full of poopy diapers, and kids screaming for a snack while they hang on your legs in the midst of your dinner prep. And you’ve probably just spent the day answering a million questions, organizing and cleaning up thoughtful activities, and stopping your two year old from flushing 10 toilet paper rolls down the toilet. Yes, you are hard at work!

But no, you don’t deserve a break.

Am I saying this so that you stop reading and hate me? Nope.

But I do have a point, so hang in there with me.

 

The Break Maker

I first want to introduce you to the designer of “the break“.
He spent an intense six days exercising his creativity in every way imaginable and then he rested.

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Gen 2:2-3

and then he told us to:

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.  For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Ex 20:8-11

Sabbath 101

The word Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word “shabbat” which means rest.

I want to point out that the Sabbath is a day and is the first thing in all of creation that God calls holy!
Holy is just another word for something dedicated or consecrated to God. It is special and set apart from the rest of the week and demands that no work be done!

The Jewish understanding of Shabbat is that it is a joyous celebration, to be observed with family and friends. It’s the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, and in the Old Testament we see that breaking the Shabbat was punishable by death. It’s a big deal!

 

What does this mean for Christians?

About six years ago God really was illuminating the word “Sabbath” for me all over the place and I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do.

“I’m not Jewish, God… what am I supposed to do with this? Why is this so important to you?”

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Imagine your favourite celebration during the year.

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When our little family joined their family and friends and celebrated this weekly event, it brought me back to everything I love about Christmas… but they did it every week!

I was looking for a way to teach my kids about my faith that didn’t  just revolve around sitting in a church bench and being spoken at and this experience hit the nail on the head.

We Work like Crazy!

I’m not being all North American here and exaggerating: it’s true. The average working mom works an average 98 hours a week (that’s two full time jobs) and I can assure you that the ones “staying home” are working just as hard.

The work literally never ends.
The moment I fold the pile of laundry a new one rises up.
The minute I refrain from bringing order into my life, or my home, CHAOS ensues!

So you’re probably still wondering why I said you don’t deserve a break?

 

Here is the not-so-secret secret to this special weekly break:

 

It is rest that has absolutely nothing to do with what we deserve or have earned.

 

It is all about God and his grace.

 

Who Am I?

So (for me) on Friday evening until Saturday evening I STOP being the maker, the creator, and the busy-bee. I leave the dishes, I leave the mess, I stop my projects, my work and my concerns.
I put the running of my own little kingdom on hold. I physically stop and consciously  remind myself, and those around me that it’s not my strength that gets things done.

God's rest and break

I remind myself who the true KING is.

God is God and I am me – I am not God.

 

On this day of rest we are no longer defined by the work we do,  nor by the accomplishments we have achieved or the talents we possess.

God is the author, perfecter and finisher of all work (even ours!).

On Shabbat (or the Sabbath) we can just be, simply, ourselves. We have time to enjoy one another for just the way we are, and enjoy God for just who he is.

 

Stop the Excuses

There will always be work to be done, there will always be projects that need to be finished, there will always be the sly little voice saying, “ONLY when you finish this, you’re allowed to rest”.

We don’t work until we deserve a break.

God commands it because he knows we can’t and shouldn’t do it all.

 

Take the rest he so graciously gives so you can be a person full of LIFE!

 

So have a break, and make it a FULL DAY.

Your boss insists.

 

Have you already started having a weekly break where you do absolutely no work? What does it look like for you?

Curious about the practical side?

 

Read the next post: Thank God it’s Friday – to see how our family celebrates!

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7 Advent Facts You Probably Don’t Know

7 Advent Facts You Probably Don’t Know

Sure, what is Advent all about anyway? Is it a time to buy chocolate before we eat more chocolate? Or rather just a marketing ploy to buy more stuff in order to count down to more presents? Think again! In this video, we talk about seven interesting Advent facts that...

Advent Devotional for the Scatterbrained Mom

Advent Devotional for the Scatterbrained Mom

Simple Advent Devotions for the Scatterbrained Mom Exclusively for scatterbrained Mamas Simple daily devotionsDesigned to prepare the busy heart of the mom for the coming of the King.Set aside time daily to rest and be in the presence of GodCelebrate Christmas with...

Free Christmas Printables

Free Christmas Printables

Free Christmas Printables Christmas ArtIn two different sizes: Letter and a4 format. Instant download, and print yourself.Free Printable Christmas Gift TagsClick to download!More From the Intentional Shop >>Free Printable Library? Yes Please! [et_bloom_inline...

A Quiet Advent Challenge

A Quiet Advent Challenge

Christmas is coming, and we want to prepare our hearts for the joy to come!Join this Quiet Advent Challenge today. Here's what's waiting for you. 4 Sundays of:   Slow down be quiet and get ready for the King.

Your Lent Playlist

Your Lent Playlist

Here are some great Lent music playlist suggestions for all you music lovers out there!

I don’t know about you, but music accompanies my everyday life. When I’m cleaning the house, washing the dishes, or reading a book.

We have compiled a list of songs that have joined us through the last couple Lent seasons and are now sharing it with you! We hope it blesses you, as it has blessed us.

 

You’ll find some fantastic artists like:

Audrey Assad

and

Page CXVI

Or if you are interested in something more classic and choral we have included “Lent at Ephesus” from the Benedictines of Mary.

I also highly recommend New York City Hymns, “Songs for Lent“, but they aren’t on Spotify anymore.  Check the album out for yourself below!

 

Do you have any other song suggestions? Comment below.

 

5 Things Your Family Can Fast Together During Lent

5 Things Your Family Can Fast Together During Lent

Looking for some ideas on how you can incoorperate fasting and giving up together as a family during Lent? Here you will find FIVE ideas that our family has tried fasting together. We have done all of these with all of our kids eight and under.

 

If you missed my previous post on the “Why?” of Lent check it out here: https://lifelivedintentionally.com/lent-for-beginners/

 

Our family, (kids included) have experimented a little and we have given up these 5 things together for Lent.

5 Things You can Give Up as a Family for Lent

  • Meat

We like meat.

This also challenges my creativity, because instead of depending on a tasty meat to be the centre of the dish, I am always forced to think outside the box.

So If you have some great meatless meal suggestions, I’ll take them at any point!

 

 

 

  • We fast sweets.

 (below are some of my thoughts from 2018)

This one will hit me after lunch. Since we typically eat a warm meal after lunch, and I like to balance my savory with a bit of sweet. I’m going to be left with an empty spot.
We are letting the kids eat some sweets, so they aren’t fasting them completely

 

 

 

  • We fast “Apfelschorle” and any other soft drinks (aka Pop – for the Canadians), and alcohol

Now I know you North Americans are not going to know this drink, but you should really become acquainted with it! It is apple juice mixed with soda water, and it’s refreshingly awesome. Here in Germany it is a staple drink for pretty much everyone I know. This one I will particularly miss.
We aren’t huge alcohol drinkers, but we live in southern Germany where fantastic wine is abundant. My husband and I typically do enjoy a glass of wine together once a week.

 

 

 

  • We fast Netflix, Movies, and Video Games

 

We have done a complete fast of electronic entertainment a number of times over the years, and it has always been great. At first it’s awkward since my go-to method of relaxation is flipping on a series that I enjoy. As the days go by I start to find peace in actually having peace. When the kids are in bed, and all is quiet in the house, it is really quiet.
My thoughts finally have time to settle and be in peace.
This quiet space is great because it’s also uncomfortable for me. From experience, I know God uses my discomfort to show His comfort.

 Looking for more ways to create a quiet space in your life. Read this article on: 4 Tips on Making Your Life Quieter

 

 

  • We fast buying things (except groceries, and medicine)

 (below are some of my thoughts from 2018)

This is a new one for us this year. Though my husband doesn’t find a particular hardship with this (besides buying books), I almost felt a bit panicked about this last night.
What if I need to buy new bed sheets – ASAP?
Spring is coming and I won’t be able to buy the beautiful flowers or garden things that come on sale! AH!
I know that I’m being challenged by God to simplify my life, to make more room for him.
Things crowd my thoughts.
Things crowd my house.
Things disturb my peace.
Things are hard to give up, it’s a process for me.
But I want to make space.

 

 

Make it visible

This is really helpful to keep the family reminded what we are doing and why. Simon prints a list of what we’re fasting, and beneath it he has included this:

 

What we seek to add:

Unoccupied time
Reading, alone and together
Enjoyable prayer times
Being silly together as a family
Playing games together
Learning & maturing

 

That’s exactly how I see each one of these things that we give up: as making room God in our lives.

He is my comfort, he is my satisfaction, he fills my thoughts. Or he should. Shouldn’t he?

 

How are you preparing for Easter? What things are you giving up for Lent?

 

 

 

Lent: For Beginners

Lent: For Beginners

I remember that as a kid, Easter always seemed to sneak up on me. Observing Lent was not even a thought for me.

Christmas, on the other hand, seemed to build up all year and explode into glorious celebration. The feelings of anticipation, expectation, and excitement that I had for Christmas burst forth in rainbows and sparkles. This contrasted to Easter, which politely tapped me on the shoulder, and coaxed the excitement out of me by offering hidden chocolate eggs.

As I dove deeper into the mysteries of faith, a longing began. I wondered how I could prepare myself for Easter and I looked for ways our family could prepare together.

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