A Christian Feast of Tabernacles Celebration

Traditions are beautiful.  I can almost think of nothing sweeter than when my children’s excitement grows when a beloved yearly tradition grows near.

Unfortunately, sometimes traditions are lost.  As some of you may know, my family decided that Christmas might not be the best way to celebrate Christ a few years ago.  How I mourned my loss of traditions!  A simple search about the roots of Halloween for a blog post lead me to learn about the roots of Christmas as well.  At which point, bewildered and shocked, we decided to no longer celebrate our beloved holiday.

If you are in the same place that we were, then a big hug to you!  It’s tough.  But through it all, God has been near, and He has led us to celebrate Him in an entirely new way.  Actually, it’s not a new way to us, but a century’s old way that the Lord Himself instituted.

If you would have told me a few years ago that our family would celebrate a Jewish holiday in the future I would have laughed while shaking my head.  I mean, that’s kind of strange, isn’t it?  We aren’t Jewish.

But little by little, God spoke to my heart that I shouldn’t be so close minded.  All of the Biblical Feasts pointed to Christ.  They were God-instituted, and not created by man.  So I breathed a prayer, and began to study.

Oh, what wonderous things I found!  I believe that it was providence that I truly began to dig into this topic shortly before the Feast of Tabernacles (or Sukkot, in Hebrew).  Jesus was likely born during this time, and we were able prepare our home and hearts to celebrate.

The heart of the Feast of Tabernacles revolves around both a remembrance of the Israelites forty years in the wilderness and a harvest celebration.  The Israelites lived in booths (or tabernacles…sukkahs in Hebrew) during their wanderings.  The Feast of Tabernacles is a time for us to remember that while they lived in these temporary dwellings, God was their shelter.  It is also a time to celebrate the harvest.  There are so many beautiful meanings to this festival, but for now I’m going to discuss how we celebrated our Savior throughout it.

Based on the knowledge of when John the Baptist was born (in the Spring, near Passover), we can come to the conclusion that Christ was likely born of Mary in the fall.

And The Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us.

John 1:14

Christ, our Lord, was likely born in a crude shelter, a sukkah.  In Genesis, we learn that booths for livestock were called such.

Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built for himself a house and made booths for his livestock; therefore the place is named Succoth.

Genesis 33:17

Oh, how my heart sung!  My children and I began to make decorations for our sukkah.  Instead of using a tent, we decorated our screened in back porch, filling it with Bible verses and fall décor.

Out came our Nativity sets.  Eager hands played out the story as we retold our Savior’s human birth.

Christmas music…no not Christmas music, but Savior’s birth music, wafted through our van as we ran errands throughout the week.  We had a “shepherd’s meal,” feasting on what we imagined the shepherds might have eaten on the day they met Jesus in Bethlehem.  By candlelight, we ate potato soup, bread, fruits, nuts, and grape juice.

We studied how Jesus is our Living Water.  Traditionally, at the end of Sukkot a blessing for rain is spoken.  During the Feast of Tabernacles this is what our Lord spoke:

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”

John 7:37-38

Oh, how thankful I am for this time!  Two days of the Feast of Tabernacles remain, and we plan on having a harvest celebration as well as a celebratory meal.  I can’t begin to say how meaningful this week has been.  Celebrating Christ without the distractions of the Christmas season or anticipation of gifts has been a tremendous blessing to us all.

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22 thoughts on “A Christian Feast of Tabernacles Celebration

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you! I’ve discovered more and more Christians are beginning to celebrate Him through the feasts. A dear friend introduced me to the idea and I’m so glad she did.😊

      • Marie Eroh says:

        Do you have any resources for a mom with two young kids just learning these things? This was our first year celebrating the biblical feasts, we have been a few years without celebrating traditional holidays. I love the way the feasts point to God/Jesus where with traditional holidays, try as one may point more to self and things of the flesh. I would love resources to help with implementing the feasts with my kids in a more intimate and meaningful way!

    • Nicole says:

      No, not at all! Galatians 3:7 says, “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.” The entire Bible is a Christian’s heritage. I believe we are free to celebrate the Biblical feasts for Christ. Jesus himself was a Jew, and Christians are now a part of His kingdom.

  1. Candace says:

    What a beautiful family tradition! I really love this. I’ve been so inconsistent over the years with traditions, but I truly believe they are so important for families. Thanks so much for sharing this idea!

  2. Gleniece says:

    Hi, Nicole! My husband and I, too, have done extensive research on the so-called Christian holidays and have realized we can’t, in good conscience, take part in them. We are called to worship God in spirit and in truth, so that is what we do, to the best of our abilities.
    I’m glad I found you at Grace & Truth link up. Have a lovely evening.

  3. Danielle says:

    I would look into the Star of David. It’s a 5 point star, same as the satanic star. Many many many Jews, do NOT display the star because of the satanic symbol.

  4. Brenda Nelson says:

    This will be the 4th year that I have celebrated the feast of Tabernacle‘s as Jesus’ time of birth. My kids are grown and my husband is not a Christian, and my extended family has mixed and evolving reactions to my new convictions, so I still celebrate Christmas with my family. I believe that I can celebrate Jesus’ birth every month, or every day, if I want to, and everyone can make their own choices about it, but I have thrown away all of my Santa Clauses (and related decorations: elves & reindeer, etc). If Jesus was born during the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) then he would have been incarnated (made flesh/conceived) around Christmas-time, so I celebrate his incarnation, his birth and his life at Christmas. I have a pregnant Mary decoration and a star-shaped frame ornament with a picture of a baby (Jesus) in-utero on my “Christmas gift shelf”. Oh, and the gifts go under this shelf (not a tree). A present decoration on the shelf bears a sign with the verse “every good gift is from The Father of Heavenly Lights”. I still decorate with a smaller Christmas tree as a seasonal decoration much like you can use pumpkins and fall leaves in your Tabernacle decorations, but it is not the central focus. Instead of stockings, we use treasure chests with bags inside, as a nod to the wisemen’s visit, which I know didn’t happen at Jesus’ birth time either, but later, maybe a couple years later, but oh well. I’d love to email you pictures and more details if you are interested. Anyway, regarding the Feast of Booths, I’m so excited! This year, my niece is helping me build a traditional sukkah (temporary shelter). It is going to be beautiful! I think it is not a coincidence that most of the Jewish kosher sukkahs look so much like Christian Nativity stables, which closely follow God’s Biblical construction directions given for these temporary holiday dwellings. Whether or not Jesus was born in an inn’s stable or in a relative’s stable, or even in a sukkah, it seems like God had a celebration of his son’s birth in view when he instituted an 8-day holiday, book-ended by 2 high Sabbaths which is the same timeframe between Jesus’ birth and his circumcision at the temple in Jerusalem, and it is the only Feast in which God instructed his people to celebrate with great joy. Most Biblical scholars agree that Jesus’ transfiguration occurred during “The Feast”. That is why Peter asked if he could build Booths for Jesus, Abraham and Elijah. Also Biblical scholars believe Jesus will return during The Feast because of the in-gathering of the harvest symbolism. I can’t imagine a better place to be when Jesus returns than in my sukkah/ nativity shack looking up at the stars, as i’m contemplating how I’m looking forward to His return. The book of Revelation says that when Jesus returns, we will celebrate The Feast of Tabernacles with him forever, so we might as well start celebrating it now. We are pilgrims. This earth is not our home, we are passing through, following God’s guidance on the way to our promised land where we will see Jesus face to face. May you have a joyous Feast of Tabernacles, and as the traditional Sukkot greeting goes, for Jews scattered around the world, “Next year in Jerusalem!” I’ve always been quick to question whether my traditions were pleasing to Jesus or not because I would never want him to say of me that I am quick to follow my own traditions but slow to follow the will of God or that my lips say that I am for him, but my heart is far from him. I have certainly experienced that seeking to learn about the Biblical feast(s) and to practice the heart of them has been spiritually rewarding.

  5. Brenda Nelson says:

    I have to make a correction to my previous comment. The Bible (Christian Old Testament) doesn’t tell you how to build your tabernacle; it just tells you to build it. The construction instructions that I had in mind come from Jewish religious writings. This year, I was aiming for my temporary shelter to look like a stable, complete with bows on the chairs to abstractly resemble Mary and Joseph, and a straw (raffia) table skirt to resemble Jesus’ manger. The walls are 4 sections that are bolted together so it can be disassembled and reassembled pretty easily. The slatted roof is also bolted on. Here is a link to my sukkah image on Pinterest: https://pin.it/f4ug7ji3h6l6op

      • Brenda Nelson says:

        Thank you, Nicole! I was amazed at how well it turned out. It took a lot of work, but this act of worship has given me an opportunity to share my enthusiasm for the Lord with more people than I expected, and I thank the Lord for the surprisingly positive reactions that gave glory to God and joy to my heart! I love it when God amazes me! Unfortunately, this week has been mostly cold and rainy so I didn’t get to spend as much time in the tabernacle for my personal one-on-one time in prayer and Bible study as I would have liked. Even though the holiday is now over, i’ll be extending it so I can enjoy tomorrow’s nicer weather under the stars enjoying this wonderful time with the Lord that he has blessed us with. Thanks for sharing your journey. I’m glad to know there are other Christians examining whether their traditions are honoring to God and working through similar adjustments.

  6. Carmen Edwards says:

    Thank u for sharing your family traditions. We also have done a lot of research on the holidays we celebrate like Valentines Day, Christmas, etc. and a lot of the origins are from pagan traditions. The Lord says, “Come our from among them and be ye separate” (2 Cor. 6:17) and I think that once the Lord reveals to us the hidden truths of a lot of these traditions it’s up to us to not be afraid of being separate and different from the world but to be encouraged and be a light in the darkness! God bless you and your family for being a light and an example! 👍Also thank you for some ideas for celebrating Tabernacles! I am trying to come up with some fun ideas for my kids as well and we are going to try and build a fun sukkot in our living room and have the kids sleep under it kind of like camping or a slumber party for the 7 days. But Happy Tabernacles to you and your family!!

  7. Melissa says:

    In the last three years we have felt a strong conviction to celebrate the Biblical feasts. My children love it. We started celebrating the Sabbath and realize what a gift it truly is. This next weekend will be our first Succot and your posted helped me invision it so much! My prayer is that the hearts of believers everywhere will be turned to celebrate the feasts of the Bible in heart and soul so we will be ready as a Church for Christ’s coming!! Come Lord Jesus!

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