Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas In Leviticus

I've been reading through Leviticus.
My attention just isn't captivated by rules about priests and traditions and feasts.
So I asked God to show me something about Him in this - because He's hidden Himself all through His word. And of course, He did.

I hadn't read much this past week while Patrick was away, but I did read about the feasts the Israelites were to celebrate.  And I especially liked the Feast of Booths (Leviticus 23:33-44).  This was an annual tradition to remember God bringing the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and keeping them while they traveled through the desert.  As well as building temporary shelters, this memorial included fasting, sacrificing, pouring out.  And then it was followed by feasting and celebrating, and followed by fasting again.

And I hadn't ever noticed before how much like an Old Testament feast Christmas really is.  

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we squeeze our budgets thin, don't we?  We choose not to spend on ourselves, fasting from self-centred buying in order to pour out generously on others.  Some of you rearrange your schedules, volunteering your precious time to serve the needy or welcome strangers and refugees.  Some of you empty your cupboards and give to food drives.  Some of you bake treats and write cards to remind your friends or those without friends that they are loved and valued.  Some of you pack shoeboxes full of presents for children you'll never meet.  Yes.  Christmas is a time when we choose to fast, to sacrifice, to pour out.

And then we feast!
On Christmas music and friendships and gifts and games and songs and conversation and good books and egg nog and good movies and the Christmas story which gives it all its depth and value.  We celebrate loudly and gladly, quietly and peacefully, alone and with friends and at home and at church.  We rejoice.

Did you know where Boxing Day comes from?  I feel really silly that I didn't learn until a few years ago why December 26th is called Boxing Day.  It's the day when people traditionally packed up the leftovers from their Christmas plenty - yes, in boxes - to give to those in want.  Yup.  Just like the Feast of Booths ... a fast, to follow the feast.

Yeah.  Every year we keep this Old Testament style feast.
We celebrate that God sent a Saviour to bring us out of slavery.
We rejoice that He leads us through weary days and brings us Home.  
We learn over and over again that we grow rich in the giving, gain life in the sacrificing, and are filled by pouring out.

Merry and Holy Christmas to you, dear friends.

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