Holidays in Life Season
In the SYNC annual cycle, holidays all fit into the big picture of the biblical story, and they follow the Genesis to Revelation sequence from January through December. This makes all our current celebrations more meaningful, and, even more importantly, it gives us some great reasons for additional annual parties.
SYNC calls us to at least one annual party for each season--Life, Roots, Freedom, etc. Some seasons include more than one holiday event, giving us multiple opportunities.
Each SYNC holiday party is a celebration of the biblical event that gives us that seasonal gift. For example, on the New Year's Day holiday, we celebrate the event of God's creation of the world, which gives us life.
SYNC holidays use the traditional Christian, Jewish, or secular name for the holiday and they often are tied to its traditional meaning. The few exceptions will become obvious as we go through the year.
New Year's Day, January 1, 2023
New Year's Eve was the day we got to the end of the biblical story, anticipating and celebrating the return of Christ as King of the world. New Year's Day is the day we go back to the beginning when God created everything. Genesis 1.1.
As the first day of the year, this is the day when the SYNC Bible readings include Genesis 1 and John 1--God creating the world. Great time for a party, like the "Festival of Roses" in California with its Rose Parade, where every float is required to be covered entirely with flowers and other natural materials in natural colors.
In the SYNC cycle, this is not a day for making resolutions about what we are going to do. It is a day for celebrating what God already did. He created all this beauty! If we are going to think about resolutions at all, we can focus on God's resolutions, since he keeps his.
In fact, the whole annual cycle of SYNC can be seen as God keeping his resolutions, strategically working out his campaign for life on his timetable. Nobody can block or frustrate his campaign, no matter how hard they resolve to do it and what lengths they go to. Even when they executed Jesus, the ultimate attempt to derail the Life Campaign, God found a way to use their opposition to propel his campaign forward instead of block it as they intended.
New Year's Day is a time to celebrate how magnificently God made the world and how fantastic it will become once he has carried out all his resolutions about it. Good as new, or even better!
Epiphany, January 6, 2023
January 6th is the day after the "Twelve Days of Christmas," December 25 through January 5. Traditionally called Epiphany ("appearance"), January 6th celebrates the Wise Men arriving from a faraway nation to see the baby Jesus, the One sent to bring life to the world. If that emphasis is kept, it fits with the SYNC emphasis on Life through Jesus--John 14.6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
Another way of regarding January 6th relates to it being the sixth day of the year. If the first day of the year celebrates the first day of creation, then the sixth day celebrates the final, climactic day of creation, the day God created animals and people (Genesis 1.24-31).
What a perfect day for a party of gratitude! We wouldn't be here if that sixth day had not happened. Since this can be seen as the "birthday of humanity," it's also a great day to celebrate the birth of any babies in the family in the past year.
Sanctity of Human Life Day, January 22, 2023
This American holiday is usually celebrated with reference to the abortion issue, but it is also a day to celebrate the value of all life. It makes no sense to protect the unborn but not the "born"!
Valentines Day, February 14, 2023
God created humans as male and female, so Valentines Day is a perfect fit for Life Season. The joys of marital love are some of the greatest joys of human life. Romance and sex are not unreligious or anti-religious things, as some religions say. They are gifts to be enjoyed on the Creator's terms.
Carnival/Mardi Gras, February 21, 2023
Carnival or Mardi Gras day, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, is the last day of Life Season. That makes it the perfect time to cap off Life Season with a party that will focus on enjoying, giving and protecting life. This year it falls on February 21st.
If you are shocked to see Carnival/Mardi Gras as a recommended SYNC holiday, rest assured we are not recommending the debauchery and pretense the holiday is famous for. In the SYNC celebration there are no masks. No crazy costumes. No pretending to be some mythical creature or some celebrity. No "Lord" and "Lady" titles.
Celebrate Carnival/Mardi Gras by hosting a "Life Party" as your authentic self. Dress in everyday clothes and celebrate who God has made you. Show people something from your hobby, your favorite life-promoting cause, your travel, your high point of the year, etc. And in the spirit of the day, affirm everybody else at the party, even if their trumpet solo is a little flat or they show you twice as many grandkid photos as you really wanted to see.
If you are going to get a little wild, go wild with excitement about God's creation and his marvelous gift of Life. Get some music going. Have some great food. Have some good clean fun. Laugh a lot. Look at a few of the astronomical "Image of the Day" photos on nasa.gov, each with a mind-blowing paragraph of explanation. Break up the bleariness of late winter (if it is bleary where you are).
And you will not have to recover from it the morning after. What happens at this alternative Life Party will not stay at the party. That's the whole point. This party enlivens people, and their joy spills over and out to the world. There is nothing to cover up, nothing to forget, nothing to try to figure out how to pay for. Enjoy!