COG 12: The Season of Mercy
What is Mercy and how can Christians celebrate it for three whole months? Join AMBrewster as he explains the major and minor holidays in the Season of Mercy and whets our appetites to celebrate them!
The Year Long Celebration of God is a family resource from Truth.Love.Parent., a ministry dedicated to rooting families in God and maturing families for God so they can harvest blessings from God.
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Okay, so I really want to jump right into today’s show. This and the next three episodes are the backbone of The Celebration of God. We’re really rounding out our introductory material, and it won’t be long now until we’re full on discussing the Preparation for our first major holiday in September.
But we need to be able to understand the flow of The Celebration of God resource. We need to see it from all its beautiful angles if we’re going to be able to use it in the discipleship of our family, church, classroom, and community.
Free episode notes and transcripts are available at CelebrationOfGod.com.
Let’s get started.
The Year Long Celebration of God is broken down into four main segments called Seasons. They follow the meteorological seasons, and the one we’re going to discuss today is commonly known in the Northern Hemisphere as Autumn or Fall.
But in The Celebration of God, it’s known as the Season of Mercy.
For the months of September and October and November, we want to put a special emphasis on God’s mercy. It’s a broad topic that touches every second of every day, so there’s no way for it to get old, stale, boring, or irrelevant.
Now, since The Celebration of God is all about our infinite Lord, we could talk about one facet of His being for all eternity. So, we’re definitely not going to try to cram it all in today. I look forward to slowly unrolling this more and more from year to year, and that’s how I want to invite you to approach this individually, with your family, and with the other people in your life.
Move in slowly. Let’s take it easy, and let’s really get to know God better.
Now, Mercy was not just some random character trait of God we slapped on this season. It has purpose.
So, I want to introduce you to the main holidays in the Season of Mercy, and then wrap up explaining why we chose to focus on mercy for this Season.
The very first holiday on the calendar is a big one. It’s not the biggest, but we want to start with a bang. And after we unveil it for the first time right here, I’ll also explain why the official beginning of the Celebration of God starts in September as opposed to January or some other month.
According to the Jewish accounting of time — based off the calculations given to us in the book of Genesis — the earth is almost 6,000 years old.
Now, I’m not going to get into all of the theories concerning the age of the earth. I am a young earth, creationist because I interpret the Scriptures with a Normative Hermeneutic. You can check out episode 3 to learn what that means.
According to Answers in Genesis, the fantastic organization that had brought us The Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, “The age of the earth can be estimated by taking the first five days of creation (from earth’s creation to Adam), then following the genealogies from Adam to Abraham in Genesis 5 and 11, then adding in the time from Abraham to today. Adam was created on day 6, so there were five days before him. If we add up the dates from Adam to Abraham, we get about 2,000 years, using the Masoretic Hebrew text of Genesis 5 and 11. Whether Christian or secular, most scholars would agree that Abraham lived about 2,000 B.C. (~4,000 years ago).”
It’s also very interesting to note that believers and unbelievers alike have been dating the earth’s age to about roughly the same calculation for quite some time. For example, the AIG article continues and says, “Cultures throughout the world have kept track of history as well. From a biblical perspective, we would expect the dates given for creation of the earth to align more closely to the biblical date than billions of years. This is expected since everyone was descended from Noah and scattered from the Tower of Babel. Another expectation is that there should be some discrepancies about the age of the earth among people as they scattered throughout the world, taking their uninspired records or oral history to different parts of the globe . . . Historian Bill Cooper’s research in After the Flood provides intriguing dates from several ancient cultures. The first is that of the Anglo-Saxons, whose history has 5,200 years from creation to Christ, according to the Laud and Parker Chronicles. Cooper’s research also indicated that Nennius’s record of the ancient British history has 5,228 years from creation to Christ. The Irish chronology has a date of about 4000 B.C. for creation . . . . Even the Mayans had a date for the Flood of 3113 B.C. This meticulous work of many historians should not be ignored. Their dates of only thousands of years are good support for the biblical date of about 6,000 years, but not for billions of years.”
Now, I started with the Jews’ reckoning of time because if any people group would have the personal investment and wherewithal and national memory to determine the age of the earth, it would be the Jews. God inspired Moses to write the first five books of the Bible of which Genesis provides all of the calculations necessary to determine the time from Creation until now.
But not only do orthodox Jews believe they know how many years, they also believe they know the day the earth was created. That’s right.
Of course, the calculation and celebration of that day is very similar to the calculation used to schedule Easter. It’s based off a solar/lunar calendar, so it changes from year to year.
But, are you familiar with the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanah?
According to one resource, “Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of the universe, the day G‑d created Adam and Eve, and it’s celebrated as the head of the Jewish year.”
Now, few people can conjecture how the Jews who established Rosh Hashanah came to believe that the world was created during the months of — as we know them — September and October. But since the Bible doesn’t say specifically, and since there really is no biblical, historical, or logical reason to schedule it during another month, and because it fits so well here at the beginning of our celebration in the Season of Mercy, we’re inaugurating a new Christian holiday called Creation Week.
The first question is why? And I can give you much more information later, but for now, we have to realize that the Jewish holidays are unique events to commemorate what God did for the Jewish people. The New Testament celebration of the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, and observing the Resurrection every Sunday is specifically for all of God’s people. The same is true for Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving and so on.
I don’t celebrate Passover regularly because — though for me Passover is a beautiful picture of what Christ was going to do — that was a unique blessing God visited upon the Jews. Since I can celebrate Easter, Passover isn’t as important.
If I were a Messianic Jew, I would feel very differently and would love celebrating Passover every year as we commemorate what God did for our people.
But whereas the Passover was for the Jews and the Feast of Purim was for the Jews . . . the Creation was for all of us.
God not only set the world in motion and gave us all life in Adam, He founded so many other important realities during those first days of existence.
Celebrating Creation is celebrating everything about God, and I look forward to helping you see how you can disciple new believers, your children, your friends, your local church — any born again believer — by genuinely celebrating the Creation of the world.
I chose to celebrate Creation Week on the first full week of September so that the days wouldn’t change every year. Let’s start on Sunday and move right through to Saturday. The Jews observe — specifically — the creation of man, but we want to revel in it all.
Again, this is not the time to really unpack the joys of Creation Week and explain how you can use it to grow in your knowledge and love of God, but I’m really looking forward to this awesome holiday.
But I do want to put your mind at ease that a full week of celebration does not need to freak you out. Don’t worry. We’ll discuss many ways to enjoy and appreciate adoring God’s amazing work of Creation.
And for those of you are thinking, we spend only one day celebrating the Incarnation and one day celebrating the Resurrection, why are we dedicating seven days to the Creation . . . let me put your mind at ease as well. It will all make sense. And remember, there is freedom. You don’t have to observe Creation Week — though I have a hard time imaging why you wouldn’t, or you could celebrate Creation Day.
But we’ll talk more about that later.
So our first holiday is Creation Week.
One of the things many people forget about that first week of time is that God also created work during that week. Work is a good thing. God works, and Adam and Eve worked before sin ever entered the scene. And we’ll spend eternity 100% loving our work as we serve God.
So, it makes sense for our first minor holiday which — on most years — will fall during Creation Week to be Labor Day.
Now, again I don’t have time today to explain why I would suggest that Labor Day would be an appropriate time to Celebrate God. Historically, Labor Day has nothing to do with God.
I get it, and I completely understand.
But, my friends . . . that’s the point.
The world is full of people trying to live their lives without God. Even Christians have this horrible habit of trying to segment their lives into the secular and the sacred, but, my friends, that ought not to be.
If we’re going to take off from work and play some softball on Labor Day then the Lord expects us to do those things to His honor and glory. That means that we’re already supposed to be celebrating Him; it just so happens that we were busy celebrating God when Labor Day came around.
Why not take a little bit of time to thank the Lord for the gift of work . . , especially as the younger people in your life are getting ready to return to school. They likely need to be reminded of what God desires from them in their school work.
Now, what comes next is a little unfortunate. When it comes to celebrating the family, in America we celebrate the family in August, mothers in May, Fathers in June, and — internationally — we celebrate children in June as well.
In a way, it would be nice to celebrate the family and the members therein with a little more intelligent planning, but it is what it is.
The nice thing is that our celebration of God’s gift of Grandparents does make sense during the Season of Mercy. They are our oldest relatives, and they represent the people in our lives who have experienced the most mercy from God simply due to the amount of time they’ve lived on the earth.
God has much to say about the value of grandparents and elders in general, and we should definitely thank Him for that gift.
Now, there’s only one technically-Jewish holiday included in the Celebration of God. We don’t observe it as Jews, but the significance of this Observation is not unique to the Jewish people.
Yom Kippur is often called The Day of Atonement. It’s the holiest day of the Jewish year and there is so much spiritual significance in their celebration of it.
And I believe Christians are free to enjoy and appreciate all of the significance, but — for The Celebration of God — the Day of Atonement has one main significance . . . and it’s not something designed to be celebrated.
In Jewish tradition The Day of Atonement is the one day of the year the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holy’s and atone for the sins of the people.
Within the Celebration of God, we take this day to observe the Solemnity of the Season of Mercy . . . and that Solemnity is called “The Fall.”
Yes, it’s not just coincidence that we observe the Fall of mankind during the season known as Fall. It all works together quite well.
We celebrate Creation during the beginning of September, and —similarly to Adam and Even — just a little while later are observing the effects of sin entering the world.
Of course The Day of Atonement heralds joy as the High Priest illustrates what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross, but that’s the beautiful Anticipation part of the Day of Atonement. Like Adam and Eve and their descendants had to wait a long time before the promised Messiah would be born, live, die, and raise, so we too must be honest about sin — our sin, each other’s sin — and wait for the opportunity to celebrate the Incarnation and Resurrection.
So, that’s Creation Week, Labor Day, Grandparent’s Day, the Day of Atonement — two major holidays and two minor holidays — and there are three left — one major and two minor.
The third minor holiday of The Season of Mercy may be patently rejected by many of you . . . and that’s okay. But, similarly to our discussion concerning Labor Day, I look forward to sharing with you how our family redeems Halloween.
Again, you don’t have to like Halloween, observe it, or even like that I do — there is freedom in Christ as to how we respond to that day. However, all born again believers are already expected by God to celebrate Him on that day. We don’t get a pass to worship ourselves and not glorify Him just because people are dressing up and collecting candy.
Some of you will choose to worship God by avoiding all things Halloween, and some of you will choose to worship Him by redeeming the observance of Halloween. But so as not to leave some of you in suspense for too long, allow me to give you just one example of how my family redeems it.
Halloween definitely has an emphasis on death, and I believe death is not something believers should avoid discussing. We grow in our maturity and relationship with God as we understand death, what it is, why it’s here, and what it took to save is from eternal death. We use Halloween in our family to remind us not only of the sin we observed on The Day of Atonement, but also be reminded of the consequences of that sin.
I encourage them — when they see skeletons and gravestones and ghosts — to reflect on the Truth we’ve studied from the Bible. I help them remember the massive and eternal consequence of sin. And that — I believe — is valuable.
The final minor holiday of The Season of Mercy is specific to America, but I look forward to studying this event from the perspective of other cultures.
On November 11th, many American’s celebrate Veterans Day. It’s not only a wonderful day to show honor to those who risked their lives for our freedom, but it’s also a beautiful opportunity to remind those we’re discipling of the Spiritual War in which we all participate every second of every day.
And — lastly — the final major holiday of the Season of Mercy is Thanksgiving. And I won’t go into that right now. I think we all see the significance.
That’s Creation Week, Labor Day, Grandparent’s Day, The Day of Atonement, Halloween, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving.
Each of those beautifully remind us of the great mercy we’ve been shown.
Every day we’re alive, God doesn’t give us the death our sins deserve. Instead, He gave us life and everything we need to survive on this beautiful earth. We also celebrate the mercy He provides that allows us to escape exhaustion.
God protects us from purposelessness with the gift of work.
He allows us to escape the emptiness of loneliness by giving us families. That doesn’t mean your family loves you the way they should, but our families are a mercy. We don’t deserve life, we don’t deserve for others to care for us as children. Our sin requires that the only thing we deserve is separation from God for all eternity. Our families . . . even the “bad” ones are a merciful gift from God.
God also mercifully provides a way to escape the consequences of our sin through Christ.
He provides a way to escape fear — so poignantly illustrated in Halloween.
He mercifully protects us from slavery, and we can be thankful for those who fought and died to do so.
And he shows His mercy by giving us a way to escape one of the roots of all sin . . . discontentment.
Isn’t God good?! Isn’t He wonderful?!
Don’t these realizations make you want to praise and revere Him?
They definitely do that for me, and I pray they do the same for you. That’s the purpose of the Celebration of God. It helps us keep our minds focused on what matters when we could so easily go into September all annoyed that we have to go back to school and unhappy about the family God gave us and discontent with work and waiting to sacrifice the weekends to our own desires.
Each day we can bring our mind back to the marvelous mercy of our Lord.
Lamentations 3:22-23 proclaims, “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
May the Anticipation of the upcoming Season of Mercy excite you to know God better and share that knowledge with the people God has put into your life.
And one great way you can do that is to share this episode on your favorite social media outlets, and join us next time as we outline The Season of Grace.
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The Year Long Celebration of God is a dynamic, holistic resource that utilizes the Bible, our holiday calendars, and even the most average moments of the most normal days to equip Christians to worship God all year long
and disciple others to do the same.
AMBrewster is the creator and host of the Celebration of God. He originally designed the COG to be a discipleship tool for Christian parents to train their children to know and love God, but he quickly realized how valuable it is for all Christians. Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
Aaron is the President of Truth.Love.Parent. and host of its podcast.