October 14, 2012
An Odd Way to Give Thanks -- Pamela Mytroen
Sometimes God has a funny way of asking us to be thankful. Take, for instance, the Jewish Festival of Booths. It falls after their harvest, coinciding with our Canadian Thanksgiving.
After God cared for the Hebrews in the desert for 40 years, He asked them to set aside a week every fall to remember his provision. Jewish law expects every family, to this day, to build a ‘booth’ or a ‘tent’ and to live in it for a week. The law demands that it must be made from something that grows from the ground, such as wood or corn-stalks.
Even more unusual is that the twigs or wood on the roof must be spaced far enough apart to allow the rain to come through. I'm not sure about you but I don't like leaky tents.
Also, those same openings are to allow the star-light to shine in.
At first glance, it's strange, but maybe that faint scent of rain while lying in a stifling tent wouldn't be so bad! And to feel the hint of a breeze and taste the first sweet raindrop that plops on your cheek? Hmmmm... And at night, what could be better than laying on your back with your arms behind your head, and gazing up at the twinkling Heavens?
It may be an odd way to give thanks, but it may also carry a profound meaning. Jesus claimed to be Living Water. Living off the land where lack of rain meant starvation, the Jewish people would have blinked and raised their eyebrows when Jesus made such a bold statement. They could taste the wind-blown salt of the Dead Sea which was close by. Jesus declared to be the opposite – to save them from death with His own source of water. And, in fact, it was on the final day of this Jewish Festival of Booths that Jesus made this assertion. He stood up in the Tabernacle and said, “If any one thirsts, let Him come to me and drink” (John 7, The Message).
Jesus also professed to be the Light of the World.
Maybe it's not so far out, then, that He asks us to crack open our wooden hearts, to push aside some of the busyness of our own brittle booths and take time to remember his care. To allow the fragrance of rain to awaken our stagnant souls, and to welcome his life-giving, soul-cleansing downpour!
And in our dark hours when our hearts are heavy, He wants us to know that, though He’s silent as starlight, He’s still there. He only asks us to lay down. Rest. Peel back our worry just a crack. Allow His peace to filter in and spill over us like sleep.
In the booth of a humble heart, let’s thank the Lord for providing Jesus. And along with the Jewish people, who recite Psalm 27 during this Festival, let us proclaim together, “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation” (Psalm 27:1a).
By Pamela Mytroen