Archive for December, 2013

The Christmas Feast: a Type of Love Feast

Could the Christmas feast be a modern version of the love feast? First I should briefly explain the historical background of the love feast. In the early church days, love feasts were a regular part of the Christian community.  The feast was a gathering of Christians over a meal, rejoicing in their oneness in Christ. Specifically the feast carries the idea that because Christ reigns, we are at peace with Him and with one another. It is even possible that the earliest love feasts were connected to the supper.

But is the idea of rejoicing through a community feast really new in the first century. The Old Testament reveals various times when a feast was used to celebrate the goodness of God and His desire to care for creation. In fact, Nehemiah explains that faith is actually required to recognize that when we come face to face with God’s holiness, he wants us to accept the forgiveness He wishes to offer and celebrate life with Him. Note that in Nehemiah 8: 8-12, this strategic leader in Israel, along with Ezra and the Levites, explained to the people that they should rejoice in the Lord when being confronted by the Law. Of course, it was natural for the Israelites to be overwhelmed with grief over their sins after hearing God’s Word read, but the leaders insist that God wants them to accept His forgiveness and rejoice as they feast together, remembering to help  provide for the poor of the community as well. Thus, it actually requires faith to feast with rejoicing with the Christian body.

But I know some of you are thinking, “I’ll grant you feasting under the ordained festivals outlined in the Word of God, but to extend the concept to rejoicing for this Christianized pagan holiday is a bit generous.” To answer that legitimate inquiry, I will defer to the great evangelical preacher of the 19th century, Charles Spurgeon.[1] On December 23, 1860, Spurgeon rightly, in my view, justified the Christian father providing a feast of rejoicing for his family, ultimately praising God as the giver of all good things.[2] So dads I implore you and myself to lead with a spirit of rejoicing this week. We are the worship leaders in our homes, and we reflect the provision and generosity of our Father by wishing the best over those whom God has given us to provide. There is perhaps no more poignant time to do this than during the Christmas feast(s), as we say with a clear conscious because of the blood of Christ: “We are forgiven and blessed beyond imagination. We rejoice now, merely glimpsing that great feast, which we will share with the eternal family of God one day in heaven.”

Stay tuned for part 2 of The Christmas Feast: a Type of Love Feast as I will be sharing a specific New Orleans feast tradition my father started about 35 years ago.

[1] Spurgeon, C. H., A Merry Christmas, A sermon delivered on December 23, 1860 at the New Park Street Pulpit:

[2] By referencing fathers as providers, I in no way wish to diminish the godly sacrifice of our wives; rather, I wish to uphold the traditional role of the patriarch in a culture that wishes to undermine to the biblical principle of a father who is to be the picture of the Father.