“You are to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days” (Deuteronomy 16:13)
There is a festival that will take place in the Hebrew community, beginning this Friday, September 29th. It will last for seven days. Imagine if our Christmas lasted that long – or our birthdays!!! The festival will be a time to celebrate the gathering of the fall harvest. It is called the Feast of Tabernacles but can also be referred to as the Festival of Booths, or the Festival of Sukkot by some.
Back in ancient times to celebrate this festival the people lived in temporary dwellings for seven days. Those dwellings were called sukkahs. We would refer to the dwellings as tents. But these were no ordinary tents. These tents were structured with gaps in the top of them so that when you sat underneath their cover you could see the sky, clouds, the moon, and stars at night. These gaps were not an indication that someone did a shoddy job putting up the structure. They were intentionally put there so that the individuals who stayed in them could sit on the floor and look above to gaze upon Gods creation.
Have you ever thought about the gaps we experience in our lives? By that, I mean what we think is missing from our lives. Let me ask you what you believe is missing in your own life. Perhaps you think of something like money, comfort, success, strength, abilities, friends, family, marriage, health, youth. The list could go on, but I am sure we are each keenly aware of the chinks, cracks, and rifts lacking in our own lives. But have you ever considered that if you had everything you wanted, and you felt like your life was complete, you might be in a sad state? Why? Because in that state of plenty and prosperity, we can easily risk losing our sight of God. Perhaps we would even get to a place where we wouldn’t see him or want him at all.
Gaps in our lives are there for our own good. Closing our gaps can cause us to forget what is truly important in life. Closing the gaps in our lives can cause us to become ungrateful for what we do have. God doesn’t want us to merely look at what we have and don’t have in our lives. He wants us to gaze through our gaps to what is above and beyond this life.
The point is this: Let’s learn to rejoice for what God has given us. And let’s learn to rejoice for what we don’t have. Perhaps it would even be good for us to join our Hebrew friends this week and sit on the floor of our own sukkah, looking beyond the gaps in our lives to the skies, the stars, the heavens – to the very face of God.