Welcome to Home Shalom!
Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!
Monday, November 7, 2011
Thoughts on Thanksgiving
We have a National American Holiday that comes around on the last Thursday of November each year, called Thanksgiving. It mean different things to different people. To most, I think it mean lots of food, family, football on TV, naps, and a day off work. To others it means lots of cooking, and gearing up for Christmas shopping which is often kicked off the next day (called Black Friday) while other watch a very long and elaberate po-culture perade that takes pale in NYC called the Macy's Day Parade. To many Protestant Christians it becomes spiritualized as they starve for the heritage of some sort of spiritual ancestry to relate too. So they focus on the Puritans' faith and the concept of thankfulness of the food harvest. Some serve in soup kitchens and food drives (not as a lifestyle, but as a way to observe the holiday season and avoid football). To many (increasing) politically correct humanists and Marxists, it represents the power-hungry white religious man taking land away from the native Americans, and the only way to solve that is to let the government even the score. To vegetarians, it means tofurkey and hoping Grandma remembered to make some stuffing outside the turkey in separate dish, or that they will show up with their own little container of vegetarian gravy. How do I know? I have witnessed (or been through) each phase of these idea's and expressions on this day!!
However, now...I see it a little differently. Many Americans who have left their main stream Christian denominations with a desire to walk out the Scriptures (as best they can), unhindered by the (false) doctrines of man, also have mixed emotions about this holiday. They have to ask themselves; is it OK to celebrate holidays that are not given by Yah? Is there a compromise in my allegiance to Him, if I do this? Is this an example of mixing things of the Nations with His Name? (Which Yah clearly warns against in the Scriptures.) They ask these questions, not out of religious oppression, rather, out of a sincere heart to live a life pleasing to the Father. They have a DESIRE to live a life of reverence, obedience, submission and love; They want a life that glorifies HIM (not them). They have given up so much already, and they are willing to give up WHATEVER they should, if it gets in the way of their walk with the Most High Elohim. We understand the passion and zealousness of these brothers and sisters, we too are zealots and feel the same way! However, in our home we so no compromise or contradiction in celebrating this simple national holiday of Thanksgiving with friends, family and community. It does not compete or take away from Yah's Feasts. We do not try to make it something it isn't, by adding all kinds of significant religious importance to it. (Rather it is an opportunity to let Yah work in our relationships with others.) Granted, it pails in comparison to Yah's Biblical Moed (Feasts) because it lacks the amazing depth and spiritual significance of those Times...but there are many opportunities to express Yah's love on this National Holiday and meet people right where they are - no sermonetts necessary. If Yah opens the window to someone's heart and they are asking you for understanding (which OFTEN happens if you are walking in love), than you have an opportunity to speak with them in love as an honest friend - not as some "churchy authority" speaking down to a lay-person who needs to "get religion". If Yah does not open that window for us - for whatever reason, then we certainly don't go ahead of Him and try to "enlighten" closed hearts, do we???
Personally, we really try to steer clear of the whole football - holiday shopping hype, that is often related to this holiday, that is a personal lifestyle conflict for us. We also know what it is like to have alcoholism in the midst on that day too....that too, is a personal conflict for us that we try to avoid!! (If that is a built-in element to your experience in the past, I want encourage you to pray for ways to overcome that in Yah's name. You will be surprised at what He may show you to do, if you are open to His council! He has shown us different things in different years, but each year we follow His lead faithfully- it always works out!)
We see Thanksgiving as a wonderful holiday to gather with extended family (first). If that is not an option, than we extend an invitation to community that we would not otherwise keep the Appointed Times with. Most people can get the day off work (often two)because the majority of businesses close on this day; this allows a great opportunity for families to get together. We love to minister to others with hospitality. It is such a Hebraic expression of love, generosity and respect for those you serve!! Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to do that with out compromise. People's hearts are open too it and for some , if you had not asked them, it would have been a lonely and loveless day for them. (Thanksgiving actually starts a season of great depression for many secular Americans. Suicide rates sky-rocket at this time. I have witnessed this element, as a very close family member took his own life, one week after Thanksgiving, 23 years ago. Thanksgiving was the last day I ever spoke to him.) Most of our family does not keep the Feasts of Yah, or understand the Scriptures as we do, but Thanksgiving is "neutral ground" for special family time to come together. Christmas, Easter, St Patricks Day, Halloween, (the list goes on and on) would be compromises that we personally, are not quick to make. :-) Offering or excepting hospitality under the premise of being thankful is a fine place to connect with people!!
The words of Paul come to mind below as he is counseling the believers about living in the Spirit in Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as Yah’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Messiah rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Messiah dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to Yah. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of Yeshua, giving thanks to Yah the Father through him. It seems to us that this should be our "lifestyle", our disposition all the time. That we should be strong enough in Him, to walk in this manner wether we are in an auto garage, a store or amidst any people who understand things very differently than us. Like Yah, we should BE consistent and true regardless of the setting... sometimes I think we cower in silliest places. What strength has Elohim if a turkey dinner with family compromises our walk with Him? What strength has our faith and our walk? He has put us in our families and communities to be a light there. Are we ministering to them and loving them right where they are - just as He does with us??? We feel that we should not override that assignment and "hide his light under a bushel". We need to remember, it is NOT US who sets us apart; it is HIM who sets us a apart, so that we can be equipped to minister and glorify HIM amidst "the Nations". What is our purpose here, but to glorify Him? We do that by living and loving as humble servants, willing and ready to lay down ourselves for the sake of others, as an example of His amazing grace and patience and sovereignty.
Having said ALL THAT - No matter if or how you may choose to "do Thanksgiving", May you truly be thankful that you are set apart unto Him, and May you walk in His mercy and love toward others in this upcoming season.