A Month of Holy-Days

I love me a good a holiday—ripe with ritual, teeming with traditions, packed full of memory-making potential, every moment oozing with meaning to be found and connections to be made. 

And there’s something uniquely intoxicating about the fall line-up of holiday festivities spanning the last few weeks of any given year that feels like a lavish four-course meal. With Halloween’s irreverent and flirty pre-dinner cocktail of empty calories and a little rebellious fun. Which is followed by a rich and calorie-dense (maybe even deep-fried?) appetizer that is Thanksgiving Day, where if you overindulge, you ruin your appetite for dinner. Which, in this case, is the meaty and nutritious, power-punch of Christmas, the recognition of the beginning of our salvation story, that sustains us and feeds our souls in more ways than we can even hardly be aware of. And at the end of all this is the not-to-be-forgotten, I’m-almost-too-full-to-stand-it, desserty-ness of New Year’s. While every fiber of my being, to my very soul, knows that Christmas is the main event—the place where poignancy meets nostalgia and touches everything in between—I’ve got to guiltily admit, that I love New Year’s above them all.

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Like a child who eats her dinner for the sole purpose of getting to the chocolatey pay-off at the end, I live the other 364 days for New Year’s Eve. As a creative, contemplative spirit there is just something enchanting about the freshness of new beginnings for me. I can give myself full permission to indulge the part of me that wants to spend 90 minutes in reflection for my every 10 minutes of action. I can mist up at the testament to change and growth that is undeniable when comparing January’s pictures to December’s. I can cater to my love of little, decadent bites over big lavish meals. I can gather my tribe, tune in to the little girl who still loves the irresponsibility of no reasonable bedtime and the lifelines of relational connections that seem to always happen most-profoundly in conversations after midnight during a sleepover.

 

But I think the part of New Year’s that speaks to my rootless soul the most profoundly, is the opportunity to feel a part of something that is literally celebrated, hour-by-hour around the world. Spanning more than time-zones, but also languages, religions, political boundaries, climates, age groups and genders, there’s something about celebrating New Year’s that brings me just a little closer to what I think heaven might be like than any other holiday, that tend to highlight our differences rather than our sharedness. That’s not to diminish the profound importance of some of these other days, but I like the refreshing break that New Year’s brings from being “other” to being “part.” To feel, in this one night, in this way, that we all belong to the year coming, together, in the same way we belonged together to the last one, and to cross that threshold collectively is a connectivity that I find hugely meaningful. Which is why I think we intensely notice and grieve when there are those that don’t cross the line with us from one year to the next. And even in this—like the perfect chocolate chip cookie—I love the bittersweet.

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It’s this deeply engrained, from as far back as I can remember, love of New Year’s, that helps me grasp in a new way the significance of the month of Ramadan to Muslims. Like the time between Thanksgiving to New Year’s, I resonate better with the ebbs and flows, the highs and lows, of a month of “celebrating” and the “set apart-ness” this creates in this month that is unique to the rest of the year. It’s a season where my to-do list is dominated by unique things, and my daily rhythms are subjected to big changes as we make extra space for things that are not sustainable during the other 11 months of the year. It’s a season where my mind and attention are highly attuned to my community, my tribe, the ones I love and walk out life with all year long, and whose presence and existence I can sometimes take for granted. It’s an opportunity to relish feeling connected to a broad, global community, knowing we are all “in this together.” It’s a season where it’s hard not to gain a couple extra pounds. 😊

And just like Advent readings, and extra services, a heightened awareness of the gifts God has poured out on me and the poignant needs of others, and a designated playlist of special music tune my heart to the Truths of God in a unique way throughout the month of December, so do Muslims turn their minds and hearts to things of temporal and eternal matters throughout Ramadan.

What a month of opportunity for the Person of Truth to reveal Himself to them in their weakness, their woundedness, their abundance, and their limitations. Not unlike He did for us on a cold night in a small, impossibly unceremonious stable, where He came and made all things—and years—new.

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This year we are doing something different as we walk alongside our Muslim cousins in this month of fasting by devoting ourselves to prayer. We are asking you to commit to a daily time slot of 15 minutes, that we, a community of lovers of Jesus, might spend every minute of these thirty days interceding on their behalf, saturating this month and this nation in petitions for breakthrough.

If you’d like to join us, please click the link below and sign up for a slot. Every day new prayer fuel will be available to help you intercede for these precious people in powerful and insightful ways. Thanks for considering joining us in this month’s battle.  See you in the Throne Room.  

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