So far this summer there have been two national holidays which fell on the same day as Biblical holidays. The first was Father’s Day, June 15, which happened to fall on Shavuot, or Pentecost, this year. The second was Independence Day, July 4, which fell on the beginning of the Sabbath. So how does that change the way we celebrate the national holiday? Can they be combined? This was the first year we had to address this question.
For us, it did not really matter that there was a national celebration; we did whatever we would normally do on a national holiday as long as it did not interfere with what we would normally do for the biblical celebration. So for Father’s Day and Shavuot, Shavuot is a Sabbath of rest except that food for that day may be prepared. So we made a nice breakfast brunch for Dad, and a nice feast for later in the day for the Shavuot feast. On sabbaths of rest, we do not work, and we spend the day pursuing the Lord’s interests, not our own personal interests. It is one way that we set the day apart (the meaning of keeping it holy). We had communion and did the other things we do on feast days. Resting, reading, Playing games, playing outside with the kids and grandkids, all these things are allowed on a biblical feast day.
On the 4th of July, since the feast day of Sabbath did not begin until sundown that evening, the only overlap was the evening activities. So we still went to our small town parade, grilled for lunch, and all the other things we would do during the day of the 4th. Only I did not go to the fireworks after dark, that would have interfered with my normal Sabbath activities of feast dinner, communion, worship of the Lord, and setting the time apart for the Lord’s interests and not my own interests.
So that is how we handled a convergence of a national holiday with a biblical holiday so far this year. How did you do?
UPDATE: In 2020, July 4th lands on a Saturday, Shabbat. Americans normally do take the day off work on the 4th, whatever day of the week it falls. Prepare your food in advance as a normal Shabbat, meet with the believers as a normal Shabbat, worship God as a normal Shabbat. Rest, play, fellowship as a normal Shabbat. After sundown there is no problem attending firework celebrations. Our area has cancelled them, but we will still give God glory for the blessing of our wonderful nation!