Forgotten Holiday: Where did Pentecost go?

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; in celebration. Revelry. Worship. These set aside days were for concentrated, intentional time to delight in God, to stoke the fires of our relationship with Him and to maintain its health 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 the Christian holidays we celebrate today.

Forgotten Holiday Table

And yet—aside from liturgical churches, I know of no Christian celebrations, especially in homes with families, for the feast of Pentecost, the fourth Biblical holiday of the year. 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 gotten lost?

Francis Chan’s excellent book, Forgotten God, acknowledges that we’ve forgotten Him in our daily lives. Not only that but we’re missing out on a milestone moment in our families to teach our children who the Spirit is and why we need Him.

In preparation for Pentecost on May 20th, here are five reasons why it is a wonder 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 can be and is in every place around the globe where a believer is found—and dwells within, guiding the person’s own heart. Amazing!
  1. 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 ever-presence is a comfort.
  1. 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 (Jesus) said to you” (John 14:26).
  1. Like taking a trip to a national park where the park rangers give every visitor a guide book, so the Holy Spirit “will guide you” throughout your unique, obstacle-and adventure-laden journey of life if you and I will ask (John 16:13).
  1. Though there are many more reasons why the Holy Spirit came, one of my favorites remains that “the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). There have been many times in my life when I have not known what to pray because I was bewildered or afraid or in pain. Yet in those times the Spirit was praying for me. What a Comforter is the Spirit Who was given to us, sent to us from the throne room of God!

Sunday, May 20th, is exactly 50 days from Resurrection Day. Jesus ascended into heaven precisely 40 days after His resurrection; then for ten days His disciples waited in Jerusalem “for what the Father had promised,” the Gift of His Spirit. (Acts 1:4)

Will you join us in celebrating this underappreciated Gift from the Father?

And if you’re interested, we came up with 4 ideas for celebrating Pentecost here.

LAST THING — We launched our Summer Blog Club series on the Holy Spirit last year and we would love for you to grab a few friends and start a new summer blog club for this year! Find out more info about the series here.

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9 thoughts on “Forgotten Holiday: Where did Pentecost go?”

  1. Sadly, at the church where Andy works-we don’t recognise any church calendar. My childhood was liturgical, so I get it! For now, Andy & I observe at home. But, We are planning ahead. Anything you suggest, I normallu do! 99% of the time. In a way, you are my National level mentor. However, This Summer I am planning on bring a host for the National Bible Bee for some of Lily & Luke’s friends. I heard about it just yesterday on Family Life Today radio. Way to go again! Help & hope!

  2. Hello – yes – I agree that the holy days in the Bible are God’s days, not the traditional holidays everyone prefers to celebrate. I celebrate all 7 holy days you mentioned above ( and they are not just Jewish days – they were given to Israel as a perpetual covenant for all people). We observed Pentecost yesterday at church and will also look forward to the Feast of Trumpets (picturing Christ’s return to this earth) in the fall. Thank you for pointing this out! These ARE Gods special days!! Susan

    1. Athena Sherwood

      Well said, Susan. The biggest difference is “holiday” or Holy Day. These Holy Days were created and ordained by God for his people for all eternity as a sign of remembrance and a foreshadowing of things to come. We lose so much meaning and vision when we try and substitute tradition for truth. May God bless and keep you.

  3. Karen Riegler

    We left entertainment driven church for Anglican. We LOVE the liturgy and celebrating these feast.

    1. I also left a seeker sense church and returned to our protestant church. There is so muchmore “meat” at our church.

  4. Oh Barbara, this is beautiful and I’m so glad that it is noticed. Pentacost is one of the most important feasts of The Church, for it is the Birthday of the Catholic Church; Catholic means(Univeral). The Church celebrates ALL these feasts and they are beautiful. We read these biblical passages and gather not only at church, but also celebrate it at home with loved ones. Enjoy your weekend and Pentacost.

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