January 2023 Viewpoint
In this January 2023 edition of The Apostolic Faith magazine, you can read a study about the seven feasts God established for the Jewish people at the founding of their nation. God made it clear that annual remembrances would help the Israelites’ faith, and that is true for believers today, too. For Christians in the United States, Thanksgiving has long been a reminder of the bountiful blessings God has bestowed upon us. Christmas reminds us of the fact that God gave His only Son for the redemption of the world, and Easter celebrates Jesus’ resurrection. These days are spiritually encouraging and we are blessed to celebrate them each year.
When I was growing up, my family did not see the holidays that way. I had a good home and good parents, but for us, Thanksgiving was about food, Christmas was a time for exchanging inexpensive gifts, and Easter was for hunting colored eggs. One of my childhood memories from a Thanksgiving Day was when my mother attempted to acknowledge God as we gathered around the table to eat. We normally did not say grace, but that day my mom wanted us to bow our heads and thank God for our blessings. My dad, trying to be funny, commented that he was the one who had provided the food that day, so he was the one we should be thanking. We missed the real meaning of the holidays entirely! (When Dad was saved many years later, he was a different man. After that, he was the one who led the family in giving thanks to God for every meal, not just on holidays.)
Having the right holidays on the calendar is a blessing, but it cannot save a person, much less a nation, from failure. We see that in the history of the Israelites; at various times, the people forgot all God had done for them, neglected the feasts He told them to keep, and ultimately turned away from following Him. And sadly, over the last several decades, my family’s former holiday experience has become the norm in the United States. People in our society generally focus on nonspiritual aspects—they celebrate Christmas without remembering the reason for Christmas. Our nation that has been so blessed by God now largely forgets Him.
We need more than just a seasonal reminder of what God has done—we need a daily practice of thanking the God of Heaven for His many blessings. Designated days such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, or Passover and Tabernacles, do not make a thankful heart, any more than a non-designated day makes a thankless heart. When we purpose to live each day in a way that honors God, annual holiday occasions will fortify our faith the way God intended them to.
As you read this edition of our magazine, may you be filled with gratitude to God, and may your holidays in the coming year be blessed by Him.