Pentecost helps us remember God and provides a milestone moment in our families to teach our children who the Holy Spirit is and why we need Him.
By Barbara Rainey
As you have probably noticed, holidays are important in my life and the life of my family. I’ve invested a good amount of time to find creative and memorable ways to mark those annual days on the calendar we call holidays!
From the early days of the Bible’s story, when God gave His people seven yearly feasts, these have anchored human interactions with God and His people in literal feasts of the senses. These celebrations were meant for concentrated, intentional time to delight in God, to stoke the fires of our relationship with Him, and to maintain the health of that relationship through memorable moments away from the everyday and its constant demands.
God’s original instituted feasts, falling into clusters of three feasts, one feast, and three more, marked time and punctuated ordinary life with hours of significance and meaning.
These Jewish practices find similarities in the Christian holidays we celebrate today.
Ancient Jewish holiday(s) Corresponding Christian holiday(s)
Passover Maundy Thursday
Feast of Unleavened Bread Good Friday
First Fruits (all early spring holidays) Easter
Shavuot or Pentecost Thanksgiving
(spring harvest 50 days following (celebrated at different times in many countries)
Easter Sunday or First Fruits)
Rosh Hashanah Christmas
(Feast of Trumpets and Jewish New Year)
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Christmas Eve
Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) New Year’s Day
(all fall holidays)
And yet, aside from liturgical churches, I know of no Christian celebrations, especially in homes with families, for the feast of Pentecost. Jesus dramatically fulfilled this feast when He sent His Spirit, but why don’t we at a minimum give thanks for this miraculous event? How has it been lost?
Francis Chan’s excellent book, Forgotten God, acknowledges that we have forgotten Him in our daily lives. A celebration like Pentecost helps us remember Him and provides a milestone moment in our families to teach our children who the Spirit is and why we need Him.
In preparation for Pentecost Sunday, here are five reasons why it is worth celebrating that the Holy Spirit came.
1. Having the Holy Spirit is better than having the physical person of Jesus! Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away”—so He could send the Helper. Jesus was confined to a body, a single place. The Spirit is in every place around the globe where a believer is found—and dwells within, guiding the person’s own heart. Amazing!
2. The Spirit will be “with us forever” (John 14:16)—and in every circumstance—unlike Jesus’ physical person. I am so grateful for this promise that He is always with me, whether on a flight that is disconcertingly bumpy, or when I’m feeling like “I can’t do this anymore,” or when I’m simply completing mundane, thankless tasks for the thousandth time. His presence is a comfort.
3. We now have His constant, gentle whisper. I love that He can continually, intimately remind me of what Jesus taught: He will “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).
4. The Holy Spirit guides us. Like taking a trip to a national park where the park rangers give every visitor a guidebook, so the Spirit leads us throughout the unique, obstacle-and adventure-laden journey of life if you and I will ask (John 16:13).
5. The Spirit intercedes for us when we pray (Romans 8:26). Though there are