Sunday, October 9, 2011

Why I Love Yom Kippur

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  This day is the holiest day of the year.  A few years ago, (okay, quite a few years ago) before I was a mom, I was a legal secretary, and my boss, Norm, was Jewish.  This was before I knew anything about the Biblical Holidays, but one thing I remember is that Norm did NOT like Yom Kippur.  He dreaded it.  He never did really explain to me why, but I'm guessing it had something to do with the fasting, or the confessing of sins, or maybe the day-long prayer services.  Since those days when I worked for Norm, I have learned more about Yom Kippur. I have celebrated it a few times now, and I have learned that I love it!  There is so much symbolism and meaning in this beautiful holiday, that I couldn't begin to describe it to you in this blog post, but here is just a little bit about the Day and why I love it:

Yom Kippur is the final day of the Days of Awe, which begin at Rosh Hoshanah.  These are days of repentance.  On Yom Kippur, a person fasts and prays, and stands before God to confess their sins and ask for forgiveness and atonement, hoping for their name be inscribed in the Book of Life.  This reminds me that we ALL have sinned.  Yesterday we attended a Yom Kippur service, and together as a congregation we read a prayer and confessed that we have sinned.   All of us.  We solemnly asked for forgiveness and atonement for breaking every command God has given us.  The good news?  Forgiveness is available to anyone who asks!  God accepts us as we are, and we can know positively that our names are inscribed in the Book of Life.

Back in the Bible days, on Yom Kippur, the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies.  This was the part of the Temple where the Presence of God dwelt.  Only once a year, he would go in and ask for atonement for the sins of his people.  The high priest was the only one who could do this, and it was a very long process involving many sacrifices and rituals.  Well...there is more good news!  Yeshua the Messiah is our high priest and has fulfilled the sacrifice requirement for our atonement!  Through this ultimate sacrifice, He has made it possible for anyone to come before the throne of God!  This is an amazing gift, and shows absolute love and mercy to such undeserving and sinful people!

So, to me, Yom Kippur is both solemn and joyful at the same time.  I remember how sinful and how far from perfect I am, and yet God loves me so much that he made a way for me to be forgiven and close to Him forever. I can't think of anything better.

This is a video and song that I think is fitting for Yom Kippur.  He knows my name, and guess what? He has inscribed it in the Book of Life!

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