It was buying a dining room set from the Amish that brought our attention to Ascension Sunday. We bought the set in Arthur, Illinois. Arthur is an Amish community. We saw that the business was closed on Ascension Sunday along with other religious holidays like Easter and Christmas. This made us look a little deeper.
Ascension Day is the defined as 39 days after Easter Sunday. This is on a Thursday. This year, Ascension Day is May 21, 2020. Ascension Day celebrates Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven. The Holiday Calendar website states, “The fortieth day, Jesus was eating, drinking and speaking among His followers. At this time, Jesus had “commanded” His disciples “that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth.” After all was spoken to His followers, Acts 1:9 states “And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
For those of us that are Christians, when you really think about it, this day is almost as important as Easter. If Jesus had not risen, then not gone on to Heaven on our behalf, the whole deed would have lost its meaning.
Ascension Sunday is May 24, 2020. While Ascension Day commemorates the actual day of Jesus ascension, Ascension Sunday is the Sunday following Ascension Day. For many churches this is a Holy Day. For those in the Catholic Church, in some dioceses, it is a Holy Day of Obligation.
Curious, since I’m a Lutheran and didn’t know I checked this out and found that, “Holy days of obligation are feast days on which Catholics are required to attend Mass and to avoid (to the extent that they are able) servile work. “
In some countries, Ascension Day is a day off. They celebrate this religious holiday and have the weekend off. It is celebrated in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden to name a few according to one website I found.
Christian celebrations for Ascension Day date all the way back to the year 68. The New Testament shares that Jesus Christ met several times with his disciples. This was during the 40 days after his resurrection. He spent time instructing them, then on the 40th day taking the disciples to the Mount of Olives. According to the New Testament, the event of the Ascension occurred on Mount Olivet (Mount of Olives). The Holiday Calendar website shares, “The reading of Acts 1:12 states “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet, which is nigh Jerusalem, within a Sabbath day’s journey.”
This day marks the end of Easter and beginning of Pentecost. Celebrations vary around the world. Some countries include chasing a “devil” through the street and dunking it in a pond symbolizing defeating the devil. English tradition believes eggs laid on Ascension day will never go bad. In Devon it is said clouds will form in the image of a lamb.
What does it all mean?
It all boils down to this verse from 1 Peter 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”
From Jesus Ascension, believers have hope of a reunion with Jesus someday.