I Propose a New Christian Holiday!

Posted on August 28, 2019


By David Ettinger

My Jewish Roots
As per the headline, the holiday I propose is not in the secular tradition of July 4 or even how we celebrate Christmas. Rather, my proposal goes back to my Jewish roots, when I grew up observing the “High, Holy Days” of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

These two yearly commemorations are solemn occasions, a time of introspection and repentance. The Christian holiday I seek to institute would follow in this Jewish vein; I call it “Nehemiah Chapter 8 Day.”

The Heart of the Matter
Perhaps the name doesn’t roll off the tongue as do established holidays, so a new name can – and should – be assigned. However, the heart of this new Christian holiday should appeal to believers who truly love the Lord Jesus. This holiday, as the original title indicates, is based on Nehemiah Chapter 8. Let’s look at the highlights.

Verse 1: The people of Israel – both men and women – came together in the square before the Water Gate. Once gathered, the scrolls containing the “Book of the Law of Moses” (the first five books of the Old Testament) were brought out.

Verse 4: Ezra, the teacher of the Law, opened the book, and the people stood up.

Verse 6: Ezra praised the Lord, and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen, Amen!” They then bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

Verse 3 (yes, this is out of order): Ezra read aloud from the scroll from “from daybreak till noon”!

Verses 7-8: “The Levites … instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.” (It appears Ezra had help during this extended time of reading God’s Word.)

My Proposal
Based on this soaring passage, I propose a once-a-year Christian holiday which would follow in its train. Again this would be a serious and contemplative day in the manner of the Jewish High, Holy Days.

The holiday would follow Nehemiah 8:1-10. Sunday would work well, and the congregation would commit to waking up early and being in their seats by daybreak. The designated readers would congregate on stage, and six-hours’ worth of the Word of God would be read. It does not have to be the Pentatuch (the first five books of the O.T.); it can be any books of the Bible the leadership chooses.

Before the reading begins, the congregation will praise the Lord and, if they can physically do so, take a few minutes to bow “down and [worship] the Lord with their faces to the ground” (v. 6). The people will then stand as the reading begins, and remain standing for 5 minutes. They may then be seated.

There will be no sermons; this will be a solemn day of reading Scripture. However, as per verse 8 the readers will take occasional breaks from the reading to “[make] it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.”

Periodically, the congregation will stand, praise the Lord, then sit again, and the Scripture reading will resume.

The Objective
And by the way, there would be no music. The objective of this solemn holiday is to honor God and His Holy Word. This is a day for celebrating the Bible, for listening to it as if listening to God Himself, contemplating it, and letting it penetrate the heart.

No cell phones would be allowed inside the place of worship; all efforts should be made to eliminate distractions. This would be a once-yearly, 6-hour time period reserved for God and His Word where believers would let their hearts overflow with love to the Lord.

So, how does this sound to you?