Our culture's holidays are all one day and that's what most of us think of when we think of Scriptural based celebrations. A lot of building up to the big day and then a flurry of people, parties, rich food, and presents, and then back to work the next day. However, Sukkot is an eight day celebration and we're meant to enjoy all eight days of it! While only the first and eighth days are no-work days we should still celebrate the entire time and do things that reflect that this is a special and set apart time. Even if you are working this week take some time to enjoy this time that YHWH sanctioned as joyful.
So here's what I'm doing this Sukkot:
Spending time in the sukkah. Scripture does tell us to spend this time in a temporary dwelling. If you made a traditional sukkah or are using a camping tent or something in between, be sure you are dwelling there at least part of your day. Eating meals in the sukkah is a simple way to do something to distinguish this time from the rest of the year. It's also a great place for your Scripture study and prayer time.
Taking a trip to the farmers market. I believe in eating locally for all the normal reasons from supporting organic farmers to cutting down on fossil fuel usage, but the most significant reason to me is the understanding it gives about the word of YHWH. Scripture has deep agricultural roots from the Garden of Eden to the Olive Tree to the tree that bears fruit each month. We miss something when we don't realize that Sukkot is about celebrating the harvest. Appreciate the miracle of YHWH's provision by visiting a farm or seeing what's in season at the farmers market. Go to an orchard and pick apples or pears. Talk about how YHWH provides for our needs each season.
Praying for the Ingathering of Israel. The picture of Sukkot is celebrating the harvest of our gardens and farms. The harvest, of course, is when I go to my garden and select the good fruit and bring it to my home. YHWH promises to do the same and regather Israel (both the Northern Kingdom and the people of Judah) back to him. Prayer that His people would turn and teshuvah to him is extra special during the time of Sukkot.
Star gazing. Sukkahs are traditionally made with imperfect roofs of tree branches so the occupants can still see the stars. It is a reminder of YHWH's promise to Abraham, "Your descendants will be that many." Grab a star chart or a book on astronomy to learn more about the earthly heavens.
Listening to this song on repeat. Obviously. How do you not love Sukkos Style? I reeeeeallllly wish they would do the full song.
Giving what I can. Sukkot called for a huge offering of animal sacrifices, "beside your vows, your terumah offerings, burnt offerings, grain and drink offerings, and shalom offerings." (Number 29:12-40) Because of Yeshua we no longer need the sacrifice of animals, but I think the amount of giving YHWH expected of the ancient Israelites should tell us something. Consider giving extra to your congregation or learning of other ministries that you want to support.
Inviting friends over. This is a great chance to show others the joy of celebrating the Festivals of YHWH. Ask friends over for dinner or coffee and share what you're doing during this time. Invite your Bible study to gather in your sukkah.
What are you guys up to this week? Whatever it is, have a very happy Sukkot!