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  • Writer's pictureMargit Kresin

Ascension Day or "Father's Day"?

For many Germans, Thursday is mainly Father's Day. This holiday is primarily the Ascension of Christ and has a special meaning in the Christian faith.

What do you celebrate on Ascension Day?

Every year believing Christians commemorate the return of Jesus to his Father in heaven 39 days after the day of the resurrection (Easter Sunday) or better 40 days after the Passover, and thus always on a Thursday. The ascension of Jesus Christ is mentioned three times in the New Testament: in Mark 16:19, in Luke 24: 50-51 and in Acts 1: 1-11. Accordingly, the risen Christ meets his disciples repeatedly over forty days and is then taken up to heaven, where he receives power over heaven and earth with the place “at the right hand of God”. The two central points of the Ascension are Luke 24:50–51 and Acts 1: 3, 9–10:

Acts 1,3.9–10:

„3 After Jesus suffering and death, he appeared to them. In many ways he proved that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days. During that time he spoke about God's kingdom.[…] 9 After Jesus said this, he was taken up to heaven. They watched until a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 While he was going up, they kept on looking at the sky. Suddenly two men dressed in white clothing stood beside them.…“

Luke 24:50–51:

„50 Jesus led his disciples out to the area near Bethany. Then he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them. He was taken up into heaven....“

When is Ascension Day celebrated?

Ascension Day is celebrated every year on the 40th day after Passover, or in other words 39 days after Easter Sunday. The day always falls on a Thursday. Ascension Day comes from the ancient Greek Análēpsis tou kyríou and means "the reception of the Lord". In Latin the day is called Ascensio Domini - Rise of the Lord). In Switzerland and Liechtenstein the day is called Auffahrt (Alemannisch Uuffert). The NIV translates the word as "to take up"

What does Jesus sits at the right hand of God??

he expression that Christ “sits at the right hand of God” ties in with the ancient notion that at the right hand of a king his representative is seated. Joseph in the Old Testament, for example, was allowed to rule as the second man in Egypt next to the Pharaoh - with the same rights as the ruler.

The expression is meant to say that Jesus shared in the glory, rulership, power and divinity of God. He is now 'the Lord' or 'our Lord' (cf. 1 Cor 1: 9; 6:17, etc.). The exaltation therefore means the installation of Jesus in God-like position of power. "

„ … (Jesus) appeared as a man. He came down to the lowest level. He obeyed God completely, even though it led to his death. In fact, he died on a cross. 9 So God lifted him up to the highest place. He gave him the name that is above every name. 10 When the name of Jesus is spoken, everyone's knee will bow to worship him. Every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow to worship him. 11 Everyone's mouth will say that Jesus Christ is Lord. And God the Father will receive the glory.“ Phil 2,8–11 NIVR.

Is Ascension Day a God-given holiday?

This question must be answered with a resounding NO. Ascension Day has only been a public holiday in Germany since 1934. There are several countries that take this holiday into account: Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greenland, Haiti, Indonesia, Iceland, Colombia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Namibia, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. In many countries the public holiday has also been abolished. These include South Africa, Italy, Poland and Hungary. They usually celebrate the day on the following Sunday.

Why do Germans celebrate Father's Day on Ascension Day?

In the secular area, the public holiday in Germany developed into Father's Day, which is also known as Men's Day. On this day there are customs such as the “Herrenpartie” (a carriage ride or a hike in nature where a lot of alcohol is consumed). Father's Day therefore has NOTHING to do with Christ's heavenly thread. What do you choose?


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