Turn Lonely Holidays into Feasting Holy Days
By Julie Ferwerda
Let me begin by letting you know that for the past few years, I could easily fit into the lonely, hurting group over the holidays. First of all, due primarily to divorce circumstances, I've had despairingly inadequate time with my two girls during the coveted holidays in recent years. Add to that, my only sister and her husband suddenly cut themselves off from the family nine years ago, along with their five children. That left a huge and lonely gap in family gatherings since, reducing our get-togethers to just my family and my parents (my husband's family all live either in other states or overseas). And then for the past six holiday seasons, my beloved mom struggled through various stages and treatments for cancer. Last year we spent Christmas and New Year's a thousand miles away at Mayo Clinic while she got more treatment. She finally succumbed to the battle this past summer, so this is my first holiday season without her.
I've had many people ask me, "I'll bet the holidays are going to be really hard for you this year, huh?" You know, even though I have lots of reasons why they could be depressing and downright devastating, this year I have a new attitude—a new hope. Things are going to be different. That's because over the last year I've discovered a secret long forgotten: God-established Holy Days.
You see, long ago and far away, God established special Holy Days called "Feasts." They were at least partly about taking out time to fast from the world and feast on God. They hinged on personal cleansing, intimate worship, and extreme celebration of His greatness. They also foretold about future events—some fulfilled already, some not yet—events that would shape the course of His-story. In a nutshell, these events were completely and totally about acknowledging and honoring our Amazing Creator while getting our eyes off the fallen creation.
But then came holidays. Many of the current holidays we observe are presented to be and even seem like they are about celebrating God, but really at the core, they are not. If they were really solely about God, they would not be disappointing in the least. These man-made holidays focus on people and things—get-togethers, gift exchanging, decorations, greeting cards, romance—and that is why they have the capacity to leave us wanting, empty, disappointed, and lonely. They are designed to be about us—our parties, our traditions, our families, our memories, even our own ideas about worship. But our best efforts at trying to successfully remake Holy Days into holidays, have fallen short.
I'm not saying for a moment that it is wrong to embrace traditions, or to gather as families, or to celebrate life and loved ones. But if we truly want to find fulfillment, celebration, joy, and peace, we must return throughout the year to God's way of making the Holy Days about Him, and not about us. When we get our eyes off the flesh, and focus upon the Holy, there becomes no room for emptiness, loneliness, disappointment, or despair. On the contrary, those days become a Feast for the heart and soul!
In our times, God does not want us to observe His Feast days as just another religious ritual. In the quietness of our hearts, or perhaps behind closed doors either alone or with our families, we can once again learn about the true prophetic meanings and then observe His Holy Days, keeping our celebration purely and simply about Him. It is one great way to begin healing a lonely heart for every day of the year.
God's love made manifest in human hearts. This is the greatest miracle ever known to mankind. This is what Christmas is all about. All the festivities that go with it is supposed to be merely an outward manifestation of the inner joy of the heart.
But nowadays, people are blinded by the material world. New and young generations are oblivious and ignorant of the truth about Christmas and this is why the reverse process is what is happening in them. The "joy" they experience is not genuine and is so shallow and very temporary and is very much dependent on the outward experiences that the season brings.
Failing to see the truth about Christmas, there will be no internalization of it inside the heart, and there will be no genuine light from within that will project outwardly to light the perceived gloominess of these days.
[Matthew 6:22-23] The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
How about you, can your eyes see the truth of Christmas beyond the distortion of the world's materialism? What kind of light is it that is inside of you?