Please notify me when the annual Holy Days occur this year. I need to notify my employer in advance so that my vacation can be made to coincide with the Festivals.
It is always a good plan to let your employer know when you need your vacation. Your employer usually does not need to know WHY you want your vacation at a particular time. On occasions it is necessary to tell him that the Church requires your attendance at an annual Festival. Do not negatively ask him for the time off. Tell him positively, but courteously, that you are taking this time of. Never enter into any doctrinal arguments about it! We publish each year a calendar at the beginning of the New Year according to the sacred calendar. But for those of you who need the information now, here are the dates for the festivals this year (1959 - Dates for Current Year): Passover (not an annual sabbath), from sunset Tuesday, April 21, to sunset Wednesday, April 22. The Passover service is held Tuesday night. The Festival of Unleavened Bread extends from sunset, Wednesday, April 22, to sunset Wednesday, April 29. The two Holy Days are Thursday, April 23, and Wednesday, the 29th. Pentecost occurs Monday, June 15. The Feast of Trumpets falls on a Sabbath, October 3. Atonement is Monday, October 12. The Feast of Tabernacles begins at sunset, Friday, October 16. The first Holy Day falls on a weekly sabbath, October 17. The last Great Day falls on a Sabbath, October 24. Where the entire family serves God, all leaven must be removed by the beginning of the Festival. If unconverted members are in the family, all leaven should be removed if they do not object. But if they object, rather than provoke arguments, it is better to reckon the house as the others' property and not remove the leaven. Doing otherwise would involuntarily impose your religion on the unconverted. However, a wife who does not need LU bake can take all leaven from the kitchen where she works and place it elsewhere in the house if no objections would be raised. Allow others their freedom to eat leavened products if they purchase them or demand you bake them. If God has not provided you the monetary means through the second tithe, whether your own or others', then, of course, you will need to observe these days at home. Sometimes it is necessary to explain to your family if they do not understand. You have to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves" in explaining the matter, however. If opposition will likely develop, it would be better, before saying anything, to delight unconverted members of your family with unleavened products long before the Feast so that they will not think anything strange when you first mention it. It is surprising how many people know little or nothing about unleavened breads, but who enjoy them from the very first. Perhaps if the unconverted really enjoy it, nothing need be said about the Festival and you can use unleavened bread for the entire week. When living with the unconverted many of these troubles can be avoided by attending the festival with the brethren. Of course, there might be limiting circumstances, especially if there is a new born child. In I Samuel 1:21-23 we are given an example of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who, when her son was first born, was not able to attend the Passover and Feast. The first annual Sabbath or High Day of Unleavened Bread is the only other NIGHT convocation that is commanded after the Passover ( Exodus 12:42). What could be more pleasant for those of you unable to meet with brethren than beginning a festival with an enjoyable dinner with members of your family in thanks to God?
What About Pentecost?
The next festival when all ale to gather is the Day of Firstfruits or Pentecost. It usually occurs a few weeks before summer. Pentecost always occurs on a **Monday [Sunday]. Pentecost is an annual Holy Day in which no work is to be done except for what a person must eat. In local churches there is to be a convocation held on the day, just as we find in the example of the disciples on the day of Pentecost in A.D. 31 (Acts 2:1). As with every holy day when any of you are unable to gather together in an assembled convocation, there should be a great deal of Bible study. If you are keeping this day alone and with opposition from the family, be very considerate of the others. Give the day a festive atmosphere! Don't withdraw yourself totally from your family. Be happy with your family. Let them all enjoy the bounteous material blessings of God in a dinner with you. Avoid, however, any statements that would precipitate religious strife. Let them see that the Holy Days which God set in motion are so much more enjoyable than the burdensome holidays which our modern society has incorporated from the rites of the ancient pagans by way of an apostate church.
The Day of Trumpets
As autumn approaches, there is another single Holy Day-the Day of Trumpets. It is an annual Sabbath day when no servile work should be done, except what is necessary for preparation of food on that day. Make this a day of joy for members of your family. And spend time studying the Bible. If any of the annual Sabbaths falls on the weekly Sabbath, then that annual Sabbath takes precedence and we are allowed to prepare meals on that day.
The Day of Atonement
A most unusual day is this! Imagine God commanding one fast day for His people annually. The Day of Atonement is a commanded fast. Leviticus 23:28-32 explains that there is no work whatsoever to be done on it. God's people are to congregate whenever possible, as on the preceding Holy Day. Even though no one is to partake of food or juices, there is no specific prohibition on water. A fast is a fast, whether it be with or without water. Both kinds of fasts are mentioned in the Bible. See the examples of Moses and the prophets. No explicit instruction is given infants. Nursing infants were assembled in a special fast (Joel 2:16) but there is no indication that they did not nurse on the Day of Atonement. Since fasting on this day has a special meaning, little children should be taught to fast when they can first comprehend the fact that God commands it, and not before. It is worse for a child to turn back on what he should do, than not to have known about it at all. We should not eat the usual evening meal on the beginning of the Day of Atonement (remember, God's days begin at sunset). Eat in moderation, the evening meal that follows the Day of Atonement. Always be careful not to eat the usual amount of heavy foods immediately after a fast. If some of you have never fasted for the first time there might be slight physically uncomfortable reactions. But how small are these compared to the heart-warming benefits that come from doing the will of God! Since God instructs that no work whatsoever be done on this day, be sure that as much preparation as possible for the day has been previously made so that unconverted members of your family will not have cause to complain. Sometimes a converted wife and mother may have to do certain limited work on this day for her unconverted family.
The Festival of Tabernacles
The greatest and most joyous festival is without doubt the Feast of Tabernacles. What can be more wonderful than, after a hard summer's labor, with much of the winter's store in, that we should rejoice before the Lord of heaven and earth! As we read in Nehemiah 8:9-10 of all the festivals in general: "This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep... Eat the fat [animals], and drink the sweet [wine], and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto the Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH." The Festival of Tabernacles is a time when we should be separate from the world, rejoicing as in a festive dance, before God who has given us every wonderful material and spiritual gift in the past year. Although the festival itself is only seven days long-with one annual sabbath at the beginning of the feast-the last annual Holy Day coming immediately after the Feast of Tabernacles makes it customary to refer to all eight days as part of the same festival. On the first and eighth days no work is to be done except what is permitted for meal preparation. If you are alone and unable to journey to the Tabernacle near Gladewater, Texas, because of some great unforeseen circumstance, be sure to study your Bible, and especially the law, these days. If you are unable to attend the festival at Gladewater (or London, England), the intervening six days are to be celebrated in the same manner as are the five intervening days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Work is permitted on them, although God does not intend you to do the usual routine. The Festival was given to relieve you from your normal duties so that you can rejoice with the brethren. It is to defeat the purpose of the Festival if, when you are unable to attend, you merely rest on the two High Days and neglect the entire festival as a whole period of supreme happiness. If you have not yet been able to meet once a year during the Feast of Tabernacles with the brethren, begin now to rave your second tithe-which is God's way of providing you an annual vacation in His spiritual presence with all the brethren.