Family Discipleship: Celebrating the Biblical Feasts as Christians

Biblical Holidays 2

The Old Testament feasts find all their fulfillment in Christ, but they still have plenty to teach us.

Since today is the first day of the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah), I thought it would be appropriate to discuss why our family observes the Jewish holy days and share my favorite resources for them.

The feasts were more than just rituals…they foreshadowed Christ. The early Christians didn’t forsake the feasts until a couple of centuries after Christ. It’s amazing how every detail of each holiday points to Jesus! Learning about and celebrating these days teaches us more about him and our Hebrew heritage. Of course, we must not be legalistic about observing the days. They’re simply a tangible reminder, a way to learn more about and worship God, remembering all He’s done for us in Christ and what he’s still going to do in the future.

This article sums it up well:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Col. 2:16-17.

This passage refers to God’s Holy Days as shadows. When Jesus came the first time He fulfilled the first three holidays. This does not mean the days are now irrelevant, unnecessary, and should not be kept. Wedding anniversaries are not irrelevant, unnecessary. They are set times to remember a special day. We don’t mistake the anniversary as the reality of marriage. The anniversary is a symbol of the marriage. It can be a special time set aside to focus on the meaning of the marriage and maybe to speak of memories over the years. The anniversary is not a substitute for the marriage.

These are set apart special times to remember, to look ahead, and to look at our spiritual walk. The Holy Days and their observance, incorporating all five of our senses, give us a better understanding of God.

The Celebrations of the Bible children’s curriculum briefly outlines the feasts this way:

Rosh HaShanah—The Feast of Trumpets, teaches about Messiah’s return
Yom Kippur—The Day of Atonement, teaches about reconciliation between God and humanity
Sukkot—The Feast of Tabernacles, teaches about God’s dwelling with people
Hanukkah—The Feast of Dedication, teaches about commitment to God
Purim—The Feast of Esther, teaches about God when we can’t see him
Passover—The Feast of Unleavened Bread, teaches about God’s deliverance
Yom HaBikkurim—The Feast of Firstfruits, teaches about the resurrection of the dead
Shavuot—The Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, teaches about the “birthday of the Body”

We’ve used several resources over the years:

  • A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays: This fantastic resource is 600+ pages! It covers the historical and spiritual purposes of each day, has Bible studies to go along with each one, not to mention a multitude of activities, crafts, recipes, games, and songs. It’s set up so that it can be used as a year-long unit study for homeschoolers, but the format is designed where you can easily pick and choose ideas without doing it all. Many excerpt are available at the website. If you only get one thing, this should be the one!
  • Celebrating Biblical Feasts: In Your Home or Church by Martha Zimmerman is another great resource. She carefully explains each feast from a New Testament perspective and gives detailed instructions on how to observe each one. 
  • Celebrations of the Bible: A Messianic Children’s Curriculum: Simple and straightforward, this little curriculum set put out by Messianic Jewish Resources, presents each holiday for Preschool (2–K), Primary (Grades 1–3), Junior (Grades 4–6), and Children’s Worship/Special Services. The reproducibles are great. We’ve also purchased other items, like a passover seder plate and Hannukah menorah from them.
  • Walk With Y’Shua Through the Jewish Year: A fantastic resource for older kids. It includes background information, a “Digging Deeper” section with personal application, an “Exploring Scripture” section with a brief Bible study, an explanation of current traditions, ideas for celebration, and a memory verse for each holiday. Excellent!

Jewish Feasts Resources

Learning the history behind the feasts, seeing how all the details point to the Messiah, and celebrating them as a family has been a very rewarding experience for us.

I encourage you to give it a try! You can be as elaborate or as simple as you’d like. Sometimes we simply discuss the history and significance of the holiday briefly and maybe color a page. Other times we have a full blown celebration, making traditional dishes, playing games, etc. The resources I’ve mentioned will give you a wealth of ideas. Do what works for you!

Happy Jewish New Year!

Have you ever celebrated any of the Jewish feasts with your family?

Don’t miss the rest of my Family Discipleship series:

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Comments

  1. Thanks Kara for the ideas! Jamie has questioned me quite often as to why we've never celebrated the Jewish holidays…which has made me want to start…now I know! 😉

  2. Hi! I clicked over from Things I Love Thursday. We have started to celebrate the Biblical Feasts. This is our first year celebrating Rosh HaShanah.Thanks for all the resource suggestions. I'm always on the lookout for new books to get. :)I'm following you with Google Friend Connect now, so I don't miss anything.L'Shanah Tovah!http://www.lindaslunacy.blogspot.com

  3. Hope your Day of Trumpets was blessed! :)Tammy

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