A Month of Gratitude
The Bible’s Thanksgiving Celebration
During the month of October, we want to take some time to be grateful. As we stop to remember what God has done and thank Him for His goodness, our gratefulness should overflow and extend to others.
In the Bible, God invited His people to spend time in gratefulness for a week each fall during the festival of Sukkot (pronounced Sue-COAT).
Sukkot (also known as the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths) is a week-long, joyful harvest holiday in which God’s people celebrate His provision in their lives. God told His people to live in sukkahs (booths/tabernacles) for the seven days of the harvest holiday because that is what they did when they wandered in the desert for 40 years (Numbers 14). God wanted the Israelite descendants to remember that time — how God brought them out of Egypt and provided for them in the desert.
Sukkot is joyful — a time of gratefulness and thanksgiving to God. It is also a time of showing hospitality — people invite friends over to have dinner with them in their homemade sukkah. It’s also a time to be generous — people give to the poor and share with those in need. Part of Sukkot is remembering that possessions are temporary and can come and go; it is God who provides for us, and God whose love and grace is permanent.
As Christians we know, as John 1:4 says, that Jesus became flesh and “tabernacled among us.” We look forward to when He returns one day and our sukkahs are made from the glory of God, and our hospitality and fellowship is with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever and ever!
The next time you're in the church, you will see we have set up a sukkah in the Foyer. You're invited to come and participate in this interactive, gratitude experience. The sukkah will remain for the entire month of October, and you're welcome to visit anytime during the week to spend some time exploring and reflecting on what you are grateful for.
On October 16, we will be gathering in the church foyer, near the Sukkah, for a time of worship. This is for all ages, but space is limited, so please register online.
How to Celebrate
God told His people to live in temporary shelters (sukkahs) for a whole week during this holiday. Part of it had to do with The Feast of Tabernacles being a harvest holiday — people would have been out in the fields working and could just stay out and sleep in their little booths for the week. But another reason was because God wanted the Israelites to remember how He was with them and provided for them when they were living in temporary shelters during their wandering in the wilderness. Sukkot is a time to remember God’s great provision.
- You may not want to build an actual shelter, but if you have kids, grandkids, or if you just want to be awesome, it might be fun to build a blanket fort together! Once you’re finished, sit inside and invite everyone to share one way God provides for you.
- If you want to feel like a real Israelite, set up a tent or a pergola in your backyard. Decorate it with lights and eat supper in it as a family or with friends one day this week. Read Exodus 16 after your meal and discuss how God provided for His people.
One of the main traditions of Sukkot is to show hospitality to others. This is because it is a harvest holiday — people would have just brought in their fall crops and had an abundance of food. God also asked His people to give food offerings, and to celebrate this holiday with family, servants, foreigners, widows and orphans. God wanted His people to rejoice in Him and then extend their thankfulness to one another!
Consider doing a special meal with friends or family sometime this month. Whether you eat inside, outside or over Zoom, find ways to show hospitality and care for those around you.
Invite your co-workers to have a potluck or a special lunch out. Take time to get to know them better and to find out some things they are grateful for in their lives. Look for opportunities to share your faith as you talk about thankfulness.
Giving to the Poor
During Sukkot, people usually provide for those in need. This is because God told the Israelites to invite everyone to their celebrations — the poor, the widow, the foreigner, and the orphan. And because this is a harvest holiday, there is also the reminder that God told the Israelites not to glean to the very edges of their fields (Leviticus 19:9-10) or go over them a second time. What was left could be gathered by the poor and the foreigner.
If you get together with friends or family this month, consider inviting everyone to bring a canned good or other food that can be given to one of the services in Red Deer that offers food to those in need.
Donate at the Sukkah!
CrossRoads Church is accepting donations for school breakfast programs and for emergency food hampers. You can drop them off at the church Monday-Friday from 8:30am-4:30pm. You can also bring donations to the sukkah display in the foyer at the church during the month of October. Below is a list of needed items:
• pasta / pasta sauces
• canned fruit / veggies
• peanut butter / jams
• granola bars
• fruit cups
Gently-used children’s clothing
winter clothing and outerwear