We had a wonderful Sukkot. I hope you did too. I’d like to share a little about our amazing Feast of Tabernacles.
Some of you know that we were busy painting a mural on our succah. We keep a basket of activities for children in our succah so when friends come to visit and the adults talk, the children can have something fun to do too. In this basket are Sukkot coloring pages and puzzles as well as little games that can be played at the table in the succah. Last Sukkot I was thumbing through a new coloring book and came across a few pictures that we thought would make great Sukkot murals on our succah. With all of the greatest intentions to paint our succah, we put it off until just before Rosh Hashanah/Yom Teruah. It was a bit of a scramble to get the whole mural painted before it was time to set the succah up but we made it. And we were pleased with the results.
On the first night of Sukkot, which was also Erev Shabbat, we had a special guest come and spend all of Shabbat with us. It was truly a fun time. We had a special festive meal together in the succah, we slept late in the morning, we studied our Bible readings, played games, and ate lunch all in the succah.
Then we hosted our Bible study group in our succah too. It was so much fun to share Sukkot with friends and introduce many of them to the Biblical celebration of Sukko.
The following afternoon was a big day for our family, too. It was Shalom’s Bar Mitzvah. What an amazing day this was! We were so blessed to have family and friends join us in ushering our youngest son into adulthood. We have been told, several times, that “it was powerful”. I think it was too.
Many of Shalom’s guests stayed all afternoon and into the evening where we roasted hot dogs over the fire. It was a special day indeed.
The rest of the week we continued to eat our evening meals and enjoy time together in the succah as a family and with friends. The weather was perfect almost the whole week! However on Thursday afternoon, day 6 of the 7 day festival, the wind took the succah for a sail. And just like last year, Shalom and I were in the driveway picking up the pieces and bringing them into the garage for inspection and storage. I’m pleased to report that nothing was damaged that cannot be repaired and the murals escaped unharmed.
Even the banners that Miriam made came through the event unscathed. The first banner reads, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD” which is bridegroom language. This is a phrase that is pronounced as the bridegroom is on his way to fetch his bride on their wedding day. This is a festive and joyous proclamation! We remember reading in Matthew 21, Mark 11 and John 12 that upon Yeshua’s entrance to Jerusaslem that fateful Passover season, the people shouted this very thing as they lay palm branches on the path before Him. This was a way of saying to Him, “We believe you are the one we have waited for. Come, finish what you started in the Temple at Sukkot!” The succot in Israel are covered with palm branches as a roof and used in other festive ways during Sukkot. We also remember that in Matthew 23 and Luke 13 we read that Yeshua said that “You will not see me again until you say ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!‘” At Sukkot we remember and we look ahead – we remember when the Children of Israel were led through the desert for 40 years and in all that time their shoes didn’t wear out nor did they or their animals even lack food or water. HaShem provided for all of their needs as they lived in their temporary dwellings. We also look forward to a time when we will dwell again in the midst of our Master and the Creator of the Universe. We look forward to the wedding feast that the King will throw for the Lamb and his bride, we look forward to the World to Come with much joy and anticipation. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!“
**I have not been able to verify the claims of this next teaching that we heard in the week before Shalom’s Bar Mitzvah. The ministry that we heard this from has not responded to my request for what their source material for their teaching here is. We did not discuss this banner with our guests.**
The other banner reads “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased“. This is festive and joyous pronouncement that would be made at a Bar Mitzvah, as one teaching goes. The Bar Mitzvah ceremony is a joyous time when the father presents his son to the community and the son is welcomed into the community now as a young adult. It is also at this time that, traditionally, the father is no longer responsible for the sins of the son, the son stands on his own before HaShem in judgement. At the conclusion of the ceremony the son is presented to the community, sometimes lifted up on a chair by his uncles and brothers, and the father follows the procession pointing to his son and shouting to the joyous crowd, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased!” What a blessing for that son! But we also read that this was a pronouncement that HaShem made over Yeshua in Matthew 3, Matthew 17:5, and 2 Peter 1. Yeshua probably didn’t hear this pronouncement from his earthly father, Joseph. It was HaShem Himself, the Creator of the Universe, Who rolled back the heavens and made this declaration over His Son at the start of His ministry. Wow!
Our Festival of Sukkot was truly blessed! Words cannot do justice in describing how our hearts were filled during this Sukkot season. Thank You, Father, Who gives good things. Blessed are You, HaShem, our G-d, King of the Universe Who is holy in all His ways!!