I keep birthday, Christmas, Father's Day or any cards that I receive which are special or funny to me. Since we are moving soon, I needed to clean out my card drawer yesterday and laughed, teared-up, and was thankful for what I found and the people of which it reminded me. I even found a surprise when $10 fell out of a card... a lost little treasure.
So why do we celebrate holidays anyway? Not for earth-quaking changes in our lives, but because of the little treasures. Remembering an important truth, celebrating an idea, laughter, smiles, connection and personal growth are all little treasures we discover in the focus on a holiday.
Israel had "holy days" given to them by God which served as reminders of prophetic significance. It gave them hope. Many of our holidays now are based on looking back in thanksgiving at the fulfillment of our hopes (Christmas, Resurrection Sunday, Pentecost, etc).
Often traditions arise where the meaning is lost, or it is high-jacked by a secular culture... but it is still there, declaring a truth even when it gets obscured. Christmas, for instance may be commercialized and Santa-ized, but it still speaks the name of Christ every year in unavoidable ways.
In fact, Christmas as it is celebrated today is accused of being surrounded with numerous pagan origins and there is even some certainty that December 25 is NOT the true date for the birth of Christ. Yet, because the date is not as important as the meaning, it is irrelevant to me. Christ's birth is mentioned, celebrated, and brought to the forefront every year.
Parousia Day, too, is not about the exact date, but the meaning behind it. Adam Maarschalk said, "Parousia / New Jerusalem Day will be celebrated for the first time on August 7, 2016 (the first Sunday in August). This is close to August 10th, the day when the Second Temple fell in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Jesus became the cornerstone of a new temple, God’s dwelling place made up of His people from all nations (Ephesians 2:19-22)."
"Parousia" (pronounced par-oo-see’-ah) means "presence" and marks the day of the Fall of the natural temple/Jerusalem in AD 70 and Day that Jesus Christ taught that he was spiritually "coming". This is NOT the celebration of the loss of life that day, but the honoring of the implications of this new kingdom era. In the same way we don't celebrate the infanticide that happened at the hands of Herod in Bethlehem, yet we do celebrate the birth of Christ at the same time.
This is one of the most neglected, misunderstood truths of scripture, while also being one of the most important treasure filled pieces in our relationship with God. Adam wrote a great blog on this biblical idea: click here.
Why a new holiday? That's a great question! I'd ask why not? This month of July celebrates National Sugar Cookie Day and National Father-and-Daughter-Take-A-Walk-Day (which I'm certain needs to coincide the same day!). Why shouldn't those in the Christian community who believe in a fulfilled Parousia also celebrate a special day of such massive importance? It is a day we can look back on as the fulfillment of the promises Christ gave (Mt. 16:27-28) along with the hope of his increasing kingdom in the earth (Is. 9:7).
It reminds us that there is no lurking tribulation like a Damoclean sword over the world. It causes us to realize again that we live in the New Heavens and New Earth where God is relating to us through the righteousness of Christ. We are challenged again to see through God's eyes how the old age of the Law system is gone and the new era of the Kingdom has arrived.
Emphasis on the theology of Christ's presence-coming will not only reinvigorate discussion, but also eventually spill over into seeing the nations as places to be healed, rather than waiting for an exit strategy and destruction of the earth. Christians may even be invigorated to re-engage with arts, entertainment, business and government. What a treasure THAT would be!
What Can We Do?
Sometimes the most revolutionary thing we can do to change the world is to have a party (Boston Tea PARTY anyone???!!!)! Why not a "presence" party???!!!! Think about it. Every other Christian holiday celebrates a past event. Parousia Day celebrates an event in which his presence is here NOW! Christ is at the party with us!
Of course new traditions may emerge within families and churches, but for starters I like the idea that we could go through our homes each year and take slightly used clothes, toys, electronics, and even furniture... and give them away, making room for something new. The New Covenant has come. The New Heavens and New Earth are here. We are new creations in Christ Jesus. We live in the New Jerusalem. What a beautiful way to celebrate by giving away the old and buying new for ourselves!
Of course, what is a holiday without food. What if we developed a tradition of families of churches all trying new food dishes on this special day for the same reason? Imagine the fun the cooks would have and the looks on the faces of those whose taste buds are awakening to new flavors!
Since we are the temple of the Holy Spirit instead of a building made with hands, it would be great to have a church service outside the building, or even do a day of community service so that we teach people they ARE the temple of God.
Even better, we could do a practical exercise around the table with our families and remind them of the good things that we see in them. Paul said, "That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus" (Philemon 6).
Dr Cindye Coates suggests wearing purple, the sign of royalty (not the sign of support for LSU though... go UT! lol) as another great idea. I see a pair of purple socks in my future!
Whatever one chooses, don't turn it into a legalistic burden. Celebrate, and there will be little hidden treasures you will find in relationship with others, and knowing God more.
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