Feast of Tabernacles - Sukkot…

This last week our church celebrated the Feast of the Tabernacles - Sukkot.  This is something we do throughout the year; we incorporate the Feasts of old to take pause during our busy lives and to remember all the Lord has done for us.  As we have begun to take the time to reflect on all God's provisions for our lives, it has brought new meaning to our Christianity and brought us to greater depths of Christ's Love.

The Feast starts with, of all things, a fast.  This was a time in which we are to remember God's provision by giving up something of value to us.  During this Feast, even to this day, the Israelites would construct tents in order to remember the time of provision as they wandered in the wilderness.  For me, I gave up something important, sugar and television.  Sugar is something I am technically not suppose to have anyway so I didn't feel that was following the true spirit of the fast so I additionally gave up television.  

I would like to say I was a 100% faithful but as we have a television in our bedroom and others come in to watch their programs, I did engage in some 'watching' but I did not turn it on independently, nor watch my Korean Drama's, which I'm addicted to during the feast.  Overall I did pretty well with the sugar until my husband bought home some special handmade peanut butter chocolates and I did fail over those.  I tried to reason that marital relations were just as important as the fast but I'm not sure it held water with God...  What the fast did do for me is give me a more focused prayer life during the week, remembering to thank God for all He has provided and will provide for our family.  

After the week of fasting, from Wednesday to Wednesday, there was a Feast at our church.  They did a beautiful job of decorating and putting together a delightful spread.  We all sat at the long tables talking and enjoying fellowship with each other throughout the dinner and then our Pastor began to explain the Feast and it's significants to us today.

Feast Tables
We sat at long tables in a family style seating so we could talk with each other through the meal.  It was a nice time to converse and enjoy being part of the Family of God.

Branches and Lemons to be used during the Feast.
For those of us who had never celebrated Sukkot before, the Lemons and Branches peaked our interested.  We knew they were to be used somewhere during the celebrations.

The ladies and our daughter, Victoria, working with the meal.
The meal was amazing.  There were many traditional foods with a Middle-East flare.  I was happy to say there were many vegetarian dishes for me.  As you know, due to my natural cancer therapy, I am a vegetarian so I have to be careful with my diet and I was thrilled to be able to enjoy the meal with everyone else.

Hot and Cold Cider and beautiful cakes to finish the meal.
The Hot and Cold Cider was the perfect complement to the meal as well the the finishing desserts.  Everyone did such a fabulous job of cooking.  Next year we hope to help with the addition of a dish ourselves.

Our churches' beautiful tent set-up in the sanctuary.
During the Sukkot the Israelites would build tents and live in them during the fast to remember their time in the wilderness.  To this day, this practice is still done in some circles.  Our church constructed our own tent to help us remember God's provision for our own lives.  The tent was beautifully done and every time I rolled into the church, it made me smile and remember what we were celebrating.

Our tent set-up to remember God's provision.
Isn't is beautiful?
 From Leviticus 23:40 The branches were used from 4 different species of trees.  Etrog (a tree which produced a lemon like fruit), Lulav (a long branch of a date palm), Hadas (Myrtle tree with tiny leaves) and Arava (a willow branch).   The entire bundle is called a Etrog (or lemon)  and is held in the left hand and the other 3 types of branches are bound together  and held in the right hand.  Psalms 118:25 is recited while the leaves are waved up and down as instructed.

Pastor Donna walking us through Sukkot.
Andre sang the scriptures beautifully throughout the service.
The Water Libation Ceremony - Because rain was necessary for good crops and a prayer for a rain was part of the ceremony, this was part of our celebration as well.  During one of the more moving parts of the ceremony we wrote the basic needs of our life on a piece of paper.  These were not the 'wants' of life but the 'needs' of life that are required for daily living: food, clothes and shelter.  At a point in the celebration we put all our papers in a bowl and water, which symbolizes God's provisions for our needs, was poured over the top and the amount of water that was in excess shows God's abundance.  It was truly moving and a good reminder that God is ever mindful of what we need in our lives.

Apples and Honey used in celebration.
Afte the water was poured over our 'needs' as an act of Faith in God's provision, everyone ate the apples with honey to remind us of the sweetness of God's concern and care  for our daily lives.

The lighting of the candles.
When it came time for the lighting of the candles, these small candles represented the the four 75-foot candelabra's that stood within the court of the women.  Each candelabrum had four branches and at the top of each was a huge bowl which was filled with oil and lit ablaze.  You can visualize how spectacular the temple must have looked sat upon a hill with the massive lights burning and lighting up the night's sky to remind people how God's Shekinah Glory had filled the Temple.  To us, it reminds of us of the light that lives in all our hearts on a daily basis from accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

"This was a spectacular celebration.  John recorded that it was the day after the Feast of Tabernacles, which was considered a Sabbath, when Jesus returned from the Mount of Olives to teach in the Temple.  (John 8:2; 7:2; 37).  As the Pharisees came to entrap Him, Jesus proclaimed, "I am the light of the world, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life."  (John 8:12)  The Pharisees did not question the meaning of his statement, they knew it was a messianic claim for they immediately called him a liar.  His names are "Star out of Jacob, the Light of Israel, the Light of the Nations, a Refiners Fire, a Burning Lamp, the "Sun of Righteousness."

The Light He offered would Light the Whole World. (Isaiah 49:6)"

I took much of my explanations from the Feast from the pamphlet that was given to us during the celebration.  There is so much more that I could not fit into this blog but you have a small idea of the significance of this celebration.  Our family has enjoyed learning about the Feasts and understanding why God commanded His people to pause and remember.  When we get going too fast in life and all that is required of us just to live from day to day, sometimes we forget to take time to be thankful to a truly loving and caring God.

May God Bless and Keep You in His Grace,