5 Ways Christians Can Honor Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Today, I want to share with you 5 ways that Christians can honor Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Days of Awe. We are getting ready to move into a very significant time period on God’s timetable as we enter into the highest of Holy Days this month.

This year, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on September 20, 2017 and runs through sundown on September 22, 2017, and Yom Kippur begins at sundown on September 29, 2017 and runs through sundown on September 30, 2017.

The entire 10 day period between the two High Holy Days is called the “Days of Awe.”

Even though I am not Jewish, I am Christian—I believe it is very important that Christians recognize and honor the Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Days of Awe. I explain more about what these days mean and why they are important to Christians in another article. If you haven’t read it yet, and you aren’t familiar with what Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are all about, then you can read it HERE.

My Experiences with the Holy Days

For about the past ten years (I lost track of when I started at this point) I have made it a yearly practice to set aside these days on my personal and work calendar so that I can focus on the spiritual atmosphere more and so that I can be tuned in to what God is saying.

I do it a little different each year, depending on how the Spirit leads me, but each year these are designated days that I separate myself to spend time listening to God and what He is saying to me. 

People have often asked me why I honor these holy days since I am Christian and not Jewish. For me, it’s pretty simple these are days on God’s calendar that He considers important and that He makes decisions for things to come in the next year. So if it is important on God’s time table, it should be important on mine … logical right?

I sincerely believe there is a secret hidden in the integration of Hebrew holy days with our Christian faith. And, I can tell you with absolute certainty—since I started honoring these days each year, I have been blessed on a higher level and have seen my life take significant turns and shifts (for the better) each and every year.

I hear God calling many of you reading this to separate yourself in September, and to honor these holy days this year. I hear God calling you to set aside special times this year (between September 21-22 when Rosh Hashanah begins and September 30 when Yom Kippur closes) to be with Him and prepare your heart for what is to come in the next season.

I know this is not taught in most churches (there are some exceptions), so I took some time to establish the foundation of why this is important (read it here) and then developed these 5 ways Christians can honor Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur without being bound to the “letter of the law”, as it were.

The key difference on honoring these holidays for Christians is that we do it to strengthen our intimacy and deepen our connection with God, as well as to purge and cleanse our hearts (the foundational purpose of these days) in preparation for what is to come. 

5 Ways to Honor Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

1. Reflect

This is a time for you to reflect internally. Spend some time alone, just listening and thinking. Get quiet and find a place with little or no distraction. Think on the things in your life and heart, ask the Holy Spirit to show you the things you need to give attention to and get in order during these ten days. The most important thing is that your spirit is purified during this season so that your heart is prepared for what God wants to deliver to you in the next season.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24 NLT

2. Return

This is a time to return to God, to resist your times of fellowship and deepen your relationship with Him. It is a call to come away and separate yourself for a season to search your heart. Love on God and let God love on you. Take some time each day to just thank Him for who He is, without asking for anything in return. These days are about focusing on your spirit and your relationship with God. Holy Spirit will speak to you and show you what you need to do and how to do it.

Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises.  Hosea 14:2 NLT

3. Repent

This is also a time of repentance. It is a time to forgive and be forgiven. In order for us to receive the fullness of God’s forgiveness, we must first forgive others. Meditate and get in touch with your deepest self and see if there are any lingering wounds or hurts where unforgiveness, anger, or bitterness remain in your heart toward others. If so, then release it to God and get clean so that you can receive the full benefits of His love in your life.

Also spend some time, reflecting on your own self, examine your own life, and look into the mirror of your soul to see if there is anything in you that needs to be cleansed or purged. Ask the Lord to forgive you and cleanse you. Also ask the Holy Spirit to show you anything that may be hidden so that you can bring that to the Lord as well and seek forgiveness and healing.

Pray the prayer of David …

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NLT

4. Refrain

This is a time to refrain. Yom Kippur is traditionally a day of fasting and prayer. Set aside Yom Kippur to fast something. Some people choose to do a full fast for the 25-hour period of Yom Kippur, others who are not able to do that, or who don’t feel compelled to do that may choose to fast something else—maybe a partial fast or even fasting things like social media or television so that you can spend time with God.

The point of the fast is to take the time you would normally give to eating meals or other activities and dedicate it to God. So find a way to set aside the time you would normally use doing other things and spend it in prayer, worship, or reading your Bible.

I would also encourage you to refrain from negative conversation, negative thoughts, or any kind of negative news coming your way. Honestly, that’s a good habit to keep at all times, not just during the High Holy Days!

That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. Joel 2:12-13 NLT

5. Repay

This is about giving back in gratitude for how God has blessed you in the prior year. Use this time to pay off any outstanding debts (as you are able and as is possible), also forgive or release others from any debts they owe you. Think about the Lord’s prayer here.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12 NIV

If there are promises or commitments you have made, try and get them taken care of before the close of the Days of Awe so that you aren’t carrying unmet promises over into the next year.

Also, find a way to give back. It is customary during the Days of Awe to be generous and to give gifts to charity or to give a special offering to God. Find a way to give back in this season. Maybe you could find someone in need and bless them, or you can give to a church or ministry with an outreach ministry in your area. Many people use this time to bring a “first fruits offering” to the Lord.

What to Expect

These 5 ways Christians can honor Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are not the only things you can do, I have simply made suggestions here to help you get a jumpstart. Because we are part of the new covenant and have freedom in Christ, we are no longer under the law, so there is no formula or specific way you have to do this.

The best thing to do to get started is to purpose in your heart now to take some time during the Days of Awe and to search your heart, seek forgiveness, seek cleansing, forgive those who have hurt you, and align yourself with Heaven during this season. Ask the Holy Spirit what you can do in order to prepare your heart and your spirit for what He wants to bring to you this year.

As you set time aside to spend with God in personal reflection, repentance, and preparation then you will find many things begin to get sifted and shifted in your life. By the end of the month, as we begin to move into October, you will begin to feel a settling in your spirit. It will be as if you have settled into your position for God’s “next” in your life.

If you enjoyed this article, then I invite you to stay connected with me and subscribe to my newsletter, so that you can be notified each time I release something new.

Just scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your name and email in the “Stay Connected” section, and each time I post a new article, I will send you a quick message to say “Hey! Here’s what I wrote, click here if you want to read it!” (or something like that). 😉

May God Favor You in the Coming Year!

Dr. Krista Abbott


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PS. Here’s a video of my “Inspire with Fire” broadcast I did on Facebook Live earlier this week. In this episode, I talked about all of this in greater detail and I also shared the 5 ways you, as a Christian can honor these Holy Days. If you haven’t seen it already, take a few minutes and watch it, then share with others.

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