Summer, one of my favorite seasons, is waning in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s hot and humid here in the American South, but everything about it—family trips, Fourth of July celebrations, and even the weather—is a wellspring of memories for me.
One of my greatest joys was one many kids in the North American school system shared. That was the “release” from school and a few months to enjoy that “freedom” with warmth and enthusiasm! I fondly recall many summer experiences from playing outdoors with friends.
Looking back, I realize I’m not alone in saying that Summer was always over a little too quickly. Such is life—things we look forward to seem to arrive in hours but leave in minutes!
Very soon, another season will come and go in the blink of an eye, and may even go unnoticed by many people in the world. The season of the Feast of Tabernacles, spoken of in the Holy Bible and observed by Jesus Christ and His disciples (Leviticus 23:33–34; Zechariah 14; John 7), is coming.
Around the world, Christians in the Church of God are well into plans to go away from their homes for the Feast, which is not simply a holy time "for the Jews only" but a commanded assembly for any who seek to follow God and His word faithfully. Not all brethren the world over will be stepping from the physical season of Summer into the Fall festivals, but from Winter to Spring, or from rainy to dry or vice-versa (and what a great set of experiences for brethren from diverse places to share, if they meet at the Feast!). Solomon said there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3), and the Feast is time for a lot of things!
Where will you be as the winds, seas, or colors change, and the Feast of Tabernacles comes? Will it bring unique experiences? What sort of blessings will there be—and what trials will there be to overcome? Will you be keeping it at all?
The Feast will be a spiritual gathering, regardless of distance or physical season. No matter the differences of culture, language, or location, God’s people share the most important common grounds. They prepare physically and spiritually and are encouraged to reflect on God's coming kingdom, pictured by the Feast, and make the most of the short time they'll have to spend together. Each year, the Church of God encourages members to reach out. Cards, letters, and visits to shut-ins mean a great deal. Assisting someone in traveling or finding a place to stay at the festival sites the Church uses may “make their Feast.” It is up to each individual to act, but even in an imperfect world, there are many ways for people to stay connected.
Helping people confront challenges is a great way to glean even more meaning from the Holy Days—and is a commanded standard of life that goes beyond God's festival seasons (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:19). To that end, these days picture a time and season when God will fulfill His word, and when Christ's rule on earth will ensure that all will receive help and understanding.
And the most important thing to remember when the season changes again, and this year’s Feast is over? That nothing will be more fleeting than this life’s trials once that timeless season is here.
Author’s Note: If you are new to the Church of God or Tomorrow’s World and would like to know more about the Feast of Tabernacles, please be sure to order or read online the booklet The Holy Days: God’s Master Plan. It could change your life.