My wife and I went for a drive in the country recently and we saw a pallete of colour brushed across the trees – everything from the summer greens to the fall reds, oranges, and yellows. Farmers were out in their fields harvesting their crops. We stopped at an orchard to get crisp apples just picked from the tree and freshly made apple cider!
The beauty of the autumn harvest season is the time to reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving has its origins in the biblical celebration described in Leviticus 23:39-43 (CEV)
“Remember to begin the Festival of Shelters on the fifteenth day of the seventh month after you have harvested your crops. Celebrate this festival for seven days in honor of me and don’t do any work on the first day or on the day following the festival. Pick the best fruit from your trees and cut leafy branches to use during the time of this joyous celebration in my honor. I command you and all of your descendants to celebrate this festival during the seventh month of each year. For seven days every Israelite must live in a shelter, so future generations will know that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
The Festival of Shelters, or Feast of Tabernacles, which is also known as the Festival of Ingathering, lasted for 7 days. It was the seventh and final festival celebrated by the Israelites and is the only one to be celebrated during the Messiah’s reign on earth. (Zech 14) For believers it is rich in symbolism.
For the Israelites this festival was a time to look back on all that God had done for them. It was a time to appreciate all the bountiful blessings they had received. The booths/shelters they lived in for these 7 days was a reminder of their temporal dwelling place here on earth. As they looked through the sparsely covered roof and the stars above, they looked forward to a time when God would dwell among them.
Today, Thanksgiving is a time for believers to acknowledge and thank God for his many blessings and provision. It is a time to rejoice knowing that we have access to his throne of grace. Finally, it is a time to look forward to his return, a time when God himself will dwell with us.
As we gather with our families this Thanksgiving season, let us give thanks to God our Father for the many blessings that are ours, the greatest of which is Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, who gave his life for us, that we may have eternal life with him.
May the Lord’s blessing be upon you this Thanksgiving. May He keep you safe and may His face shine on you and may He be gracious to you. May His favour and peace rest upon you.
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Christian Virtual School