During holidays we connect with family and friends, take a break from everyday life, and commemorate a particular event or idea. They are often celebrated with special food, decorations, and parties. Religious holidays offer opportunities for all of these activities. They are also opportunities to deepen our faith and our connection with the Lord.

Taking time to prepare ourselves spiritually as well as physically for religious celebrations can be an important part of strengthening our relationship with our God. We may reflect on what He has done for all humanity from His great love for us and acknowledge His many gifts.

We can share this process with friends and family members by reading, praying, talking, and working together. Helping children, in particular, to understand and take joy in the meaning of these celebrations is rewarding for everyone involved. Using the projects, pictures, songs, quotations and sermons provided in these holiday Vineyard topics can help bring us closer to those around us as we look together toward our Heavenly Father.

Christmas

Christmas is one of the most anticipated times of the year, celebrating the Lord's birth into the world and the fulfillment of the prophecies that He would come to save us. As we read the stories about the joy and wonder that surrounded this miracle, we can prepare ourselves to receive God into our own lives.

Prophecies of the Advent

Title: Prophecies of the Advent (#37)

Before the Lord came on earth people had turned away from God, so He sent messages foretelling His birth into the world. These prophecies kept hope alive in the dark times and prepared people to receive the Lord. We, too, are often in spiritual darkness, and we need the Lord to be born anew in our hearts.

Good Tidings of Great Joy

Title: Good Tidings of Great Joy (#25)

The angel Gabriel visited several people in the months before the Lord was born to bring the joyful tidings of His advent (Luke 1). One was Mary, who through the miracle of the virgin birth would be the mother of the Lord. If we welcome them in, angels can help prepare us also to receive the Lord with humble and open hearts.

The Glory of the Lord

Title: The Glory of the Lord (#13)

In Luke chapter 2, we read of angels who appear to tell some shepherd of the Lord's birth in Bethlehem and to proclaim a message of glory to God and peace on earth. When we look to the Lord in the truths of His Word, the heavenly light of His glory can shine in our minds, dispelling our spiritual darkness and bringing us peace.

The Guiding Star

Title: The Guiding Star (#1)

Matthew 2 tells the story of wise men from the East who followed a miraculous star to find the infant Lord, bringing Him precious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The New Church teaches us that each of these symbolizes a spiritual gift which we can offer to our Lord and Savior as we, like the wise men, come to worship Him.

Unto Us a Child Is Born

Title: Unto Us a Child Is Born (#49)

When the infant Lord was brought to the temple in Jerusalem, He was seen by Simeon, an old man who had been waiting and hoping for His birth (Luke 2). The Holy Child was born not only for those who actually saw Him thousands of years ago. He can be born for us as well, if we will open our minds to receive Him with joy.




Easter

Easter celebrates the Lord's resurrection and what He accomplished while on earth — teaching, healing, and fighting against the forces of hell from His love for saving the human race. As we welcome the Lord God Jesus Christ into our lives, He can rise in our lives as well, bringing His power and love to save us.

The King of Kings

Title: The King of Kings (#17)

On Palm Sunday the people of Jerusalem welcomed the Lord as their King, shouting "Hosanna!" and spreading a carpet of clothes and palm branches along the way (Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12). We too, can welcome Him as our King by joyously accepting His reign in our lives.

The Lord's Final Temptation

Title: The Lord's Final Temptation (#53)

While on earth the Lord overcame terrible temptations, including the physical and spiritual agony of His death on the cross (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19). Because of this final victory, the Lord God Jesus Christ can be with us in a new way, and His Divine power can save us in our own spiritual struggles.

Joy Comes in the Morning

Title: Joy Comes in the Morning (#4)

After enduring the sorrow of the Lord's crucifixion, the women who first came to His tomb, early on Sunday morning, discovered that He was not there, for He had risen (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20). We, too, may rejoice at the Lord's triumphal resurrection as we celebrate Easter day.

Believe in Me

Title: Believe in Me (#29)

After His resurrection, the Lord gave the apostle Peter the charge to feed and tend His flock (John 21). Peter's spiritual journey toward believing in the Lord as our God is similar to our own. Like Peter, our faith is sometimes weak and unsure, but at other times it is strong, acting as the true rock and foundation of our spiritual lives.

I Am With You Always

Title: I Am With You Always (#40)

On Easter, two apostles traveled to the town of Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31). A man joined them along the way and spoke to them about the Scriptures. But it was not until He broke bread for them that they recognized Jesus, risen from the dead. Although we may not recognize His presence, the Lord is with us as well.




New Church Day

The New Church is a new Christianity which worships the Lord God Jesus Christ alone as the one God of heaven and earth. The Church teaches that it's beginnings were prophesied in the book of Revelation, and it celebrates June 19th as a religious holiday commemorating the start of the New Church.

Visions in Heaven

Title: Visions in Heaven (#7)

The apostle John saw many visions while he was on the island of Patmos. One of these visions was of a beautiful woman clothed with the sun, adorned with a crown of stars, and standing on the moon (Revelation 12). Centuries later, the Lord revealed that the visions described by John are prophecies about the New Church.

The Lord on the White Horse

Title: The Lord on the White Horse (#31)

One of the spectacular visions that the apostle John wrote about in Revelation was the Lord riding on a white horse with a sword coming out of His mouth (chapter 19). This white horse represents the understanding of the inner, spiritual meaning of the Word, a meaning revealed in the teachings for the New Church.

The Holy City

Title: The Holy City (#19)

In Revelation 21, we read of an angel showing the apostle John a beautiful vision of the Holy City, New Jerusalem, descending from heaven. This city is a symbol of the New Church which the Lord invites all people to enter so that they can share the eternal peace and joy that are present within its gates.

The Tree of Life and the Crystal River

Title: The Tree of Life and the Crystal River (#43)

Within the Holy City that the apostle John saw, there was a tree of life planted on either side of a crystal river that flowed from the throne of God (Revelation 22). The tree of life pictures the Lord's Divine love, which gives us life and is the source of all happiness. The crystal river pictures the truths He gives to all who thirst for them.

A New Understanding

Title: A New Understanding (#55)

The New Church believes that the Lord has provided a new revelation which explains the inner, spiritual meaning of Scripture. This revelation allows people to have a new understanding of the nature of God and the purpose of life. This new understanding is symbolized by a crystal temple with the open Word visible inside.




Thanksgiving

All good things come from the Lord alone. It is important for us to acknowledge this and to praise Him for His wonderful gifts to us. This praise and thanksgiving is not for the Lord's sake, but for our own. Giving thanks to God opens our hearts to Him and brings us closer to heaven.

Blessings from the Lord

Title: Blessings from the Lord (#24)

The Lord is showering His blessings upon all people all the time — more than any of us can count. We, in turn, respond by blessing the Lord when we receive these gifts and share them with an open heart. Many of the Psalms recount some of the Lord's blessings to His people and offer blessings to Him in return.

The Lord's Fruitful Harvest

Title: The Lord's Fruitful Harvest (#48)

The end of the harvest is a joyful time in all cultures, and for thousands of years people have come together to celebrate and to thank the Lord for the bounty of the earth. But the Lord's gifts are not only those of the natural world. His love and wisdom are the spiritual food which will sustain us to eternity.

Give Glory to God

Title: Give Glory to God (#60)

In Luke chapter 17 we read about ten lepers who were healed by the Lord. Nine of these men simply continued on their way. But one returned to thank the Lord, falling down at His feet with gratitude and humility. Showing our gratitude to the Lord by living according to His will is how we can give Him the glory due His name.

Praise the Lord

Title: Praise the Lord (#36)

Music has been an important element of praising the Lord for thousands of years because it can express our emotions so fully and powerfully. One memorable example in the Word is when the children of Israel sang and danced to thank the Lord after He enabled them to cross the Red Sea in safety (Exodus 15).

Giving Thanks for Creation

Title: Giving Thanks for Creation (#12)

The New Church teaches that all of creation is intended to support us while we are living on this earth and to help us make our way to heaven. If we make full and best use of the natural and spiritual gifts the Lord gives us then we will be cooperating with His goal for creation — a heaven from the human race.