God created a wonderful world for us, but sometimes during our fast-paced, overworked lives, we struggle to look beyond the frustration and exhaustion of daily living. During this time of year, we add scurrying about, trying to get ready for the holidays. We must not overlook the true meaning behind our times of celebrating.

Celebrations are a part of God’s plan. In the Old Testament, God instituted several festivals known as ceremonial laws. The Feast of Weeks (also known as the Feast of Pentecost) was a time to celebrate the wheat harvest (Leviticus 23:15-22). The Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths) was a time to celebrate the close of the grain, olive, and fruit season (Leviticus 23:33-44). It’s also called the Feast of Booths because men would build booths close to their crops in order to harvest them quickly before bad weather could destroy them. The Feast of Dedication (known as Hanukkah) was instituted to celebrate the Temple restoration and the dedication of its new altar. This celebration lasts eight days and is mentioned in John 10:22.

Throughout the Bible, we find many references to celebrations. David danced before the Lord with singing and dancing. He also gave his people food with which to celebrate. In the Book of Nehemiah, the people began to weep when they heard the laws of God read. Nehemiah said, “Don’t grieve or be sad. Eat delicacies, drink sweet drink, and celebrate. Share your food with each other, and with those who have none. Don’t grieve. For the joy of the Lord is your strength” (8:10).

I think God wanted His people to celebrate! We can become so driven by circumstances that we forget to appreciate life and God who gives us life. The Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles remind us to be thankful for a basic gift of life: food. With modern conveniences, our food often comes in plastic wrap, and we forget how God planned the world to provide our food. We could celebrate when we come from the supermarket and unload our bags (and call it the “Feast of Kroger”). The Feast of Dedication reminds us of God’s deliverance and of His watchful, loving care.

We should not feel compelled to keep up with the standards our society has set for celebration. What God is looking for is people who are grateful for His bountiful blessings. I pray we truly realize it is a wonderful thing to live in a country where we can still worship God freely!

While partaking in a ladies conference in Botswana, I observed the ushers who placed the offering plates on the altar. The people immediately formed a single line and came dancing and singing to give their offerings as unto the Lord—obviously celebrating that they had offerings to give. They proceeded to dance single file until they were all back at their seats.

What a wonderful life when we can freely rejoice as we give our best to God!

Let us celebrate life and God’s blessings. Let us be faithful to give Him thanks—for He has given us a wonderful life!


Linda Gleason is the president of Ladies Ministries UPCI. This article was originally printed in Reflections magazine UPCI.

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