I was recently wondering what it would look like if I reoriented my life around the rhythms of the calendar. If you’re anything like me, you don’t take much time to celebrate or even breathe. In the Old Testament, God gave His people festivals and Sabbaths to observe. I don’t believe God does anything on a whim or without purpose, so I know He had a reason for these events. Could it be, as our Creator, He understood we need these times to refocus and re-center?
Working with this knowledge, it makes sense to orient our lives today around similar rhythms. I’m not advocating we observe each of the Jewish holiday’s if you aren’t Jewish. They won’t have the same beauty or effect without being immersed in the tradition and history. But we can all build an effective and even joyful cadence for our lives based on the calendar of our own culture.
The Catholic’s have a three-year calendar in which they celebrate various historical events within the Church and throughout Christendom. You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate the beauty and rhythm of their calendar. Adding to its beauty, it is framed around Scripture readings and prayers. Even those of us who would identify as Protestant could gain much by adopting their calendar for ourselves. In my opinion, the divide between Catholicism and Protestantism is long overdue for a tearing down. They are just two more labels on top of the plethora already being thrown around by society. In my book, if you are a committed follower of Christ, you are my brother and sister, and I couldn’t care less about your religious, political, or ethnic identification.
Even if you want to simply adhere to the common Western calendar, you can build some amazing seasons into your life. Celebrating Easter and Christmas are no-brainers, but how could you make them even more meaningful, more restful, and more invigorating? What if we built up rituals around those holidays to drive home their meaning? It’s what is intended by the practices of Lent and Advent, but you can create your own personal and family celebrations leading up to these days.
Beyond the traditional Christian holidays, how could you make Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and other holidays more meaningful? How could you turn them into seasons of worship and rejuvenation? Don’t consider them from the secular point of view, but rather, redefine them in a way honoring to God. Memorial Day could be a time of remembering the martyrs of the faith, both past and present. Labor Day could be used to celebrate the work of missionaries throughout the world. Independence Day (or your Country’s equivalent) could be the day you celebrate your salvation and being released from the bondage of Satan.
Remember, everything we do should be done as worship to God. Building in these rhythms into our lives helps refresh and remind us of God’s faithfulness and provision. He designed festivals and celebrations so we would always be mindful of Him. What new traditions can you begin today to recapture His plan for your life?