These days most holidays are leisure based but lack the echo of history that God himself has determined for not only his people but for mankind.
Generally holidays are seen as an opportunity to take a break from work and other daily routines to give us time to detox, relax and reflect on other elements of our lives. Some people see it as a time to spend with family and friends in celebration of an important festival sometimes in connection with their religious beliefs or patriotic observation like D-day, Christmas and other national holidays. Many even believe that it can be stress relieving and has other health benefits. Other see it as an opportunity to spend time nothing but lay on the beach drinking cocktail and taking in the sun.
Dictionary defines Holiday as:
A day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business is suspended in commemoration of some event or in honour of some person.
A religious feast day; holy day, especially any of several usually commemorative holy days observed in Judaism.
The word holiday first appear in the English language 1500 which carried a dual meaning 'religious festival' and 'day of recreation”.
History gives another perspective to holidays which is about observation of a particular day deity who rules over their territory. If we look at any civilisation or country for example Greece we can see outlined within their calendars their value systems which would be in line with their particular deity. Ancient Greek festivals/holidays particular the Athenian were sometimes recurring celebrations which were a set of monthly holy days clustered around the beginning of each month. These were often the birthdays of gods, the Greeks thinking of birthdays as a monthly rather than a yearly recurrence. For example the first four days of the months and the six through to the eight were all sacred to particular gods or divine entities which would have amount to something like 60 days a year of holy days. All of these holidays were determine by priests and governmental bodies which was backed by law and observed by all citizens.
From the beginning of creation God determined time, days, months and seasons for the earth which can be seen in Israel’s observance of Sabbaths (holy day) and festivals. An example of this is the Passover which is celebrated as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs, and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. For Israel the observation of holidays or festival is attached to obedience of the law given by the God and is echoed by His government.
The Lord said this to Israel about the importance of holidays and festivals when he said this to Moses 'Say to the Israelites, 'You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy – Isaiah 56:2. In this wonderful verse we see a glimpse into what is really happening when Israel are observing holy days or festivals. The Lord was saying to his people that the Sabbaths were shadows of the reality of the work He has determine to do in them but they must obey in their observation of the Sabbaths. In their observation of the Sabbaths the Israel are acknowledging and remembering that He is the one that will make them Holy not the day nor the time nor the festival that they observe.
The Lord also said “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words – Isaiah 58:13
Sabbath, festival and holy days were made for man to reflect on God and his promises in light of his history with his people. We should be determine to find and know the Lord Jesus who is King eternal, in the holy days and festival. The hidden gems of knowing our King will be unveiled to us when we meditate on the different Sabbaths are and why the Lord places such strong importance on observing them. My emphasis on Sabbaths and holy days in this article is not about us literally observing but is for us to come to an understanding as it relates to the new covenant set out by the Lord. Citizens should learn to think on these Sabbaths as signs (types and shadows) and find the reality. These days most holidays are leisure based but lack the echo of history that God himself has determined for not only his people but for mankind.
He who has an ear, let him hear.