When I was a child, I decided that the Christmas story was set in an American snow scene. That image was there through the years, yes, even into adulthood, and then I realized what I was thinking.
The true picture was that the only evergreen trees set in Israel are cedar trees and perhaps an olive tree, if you consider that evergreen. And, given the dry Mediterranean climate, well, the snow usually will not occur, at least not in piles of drifting snow hills. Baby Jesus was most probably born in a cave turned into a manger. The shepherds sat in the cool of the sandy desert with little hope. And Joseph and Mary ran for their lives with baby Jesus in tow, to Egypt.
So, I had to readjust my picture of the nativity just a bit.
The Christmas story isn’t just about Baby Jesus.
Although, honestly, I love that part of it. I mean, the birth of Jesus is the story we all love. It draws in all of us, but especially the children. Who doesn’t love a good birthday party after all?
The Christmas story contains drama and is a thriller to behold. It begins with a prophecy, a star and an uncommon birth. Yet, it really climaxes with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, only to remind us that Jesus will return again some day.
But Sukkot is the prophecy of the next chapter in the story.
You know, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles? As Christians, it is merely a bleep on our radar and many see it as unimportant. But really, Sukkot is the next chapter in the story of the New Jerusalem. You can read more about Sukkot here.
In the year 2015, Sukkot was highlighted by God, our Creator, who orders the universe. While, most of us know Sukkot of 2015 to be the fourth and final blood moon, there were also two other astrological (as in the science of astronomy) truths attached to this moon. This moon that rose at this time, was also the Harvest Moon, the first moon closest to the fall equinox. It is also a Super Moon.
Sukkot foretells the coming of the Messiah.
The Jewish people know this. As Christians, we are not taught this. In fact, most people do not even know Sukkot really exists, or they do not know what it means.
However, Sukkot is God’s prophecy of hope. While the feasts were originally laid out in the book of Deuteronomy as commandments from the Lord. The Feast of Tabernacles were to be a reminder to the Jewish people of how God delivered them from the wilderness. Its original intent was to bring the people of God to the Temple of God. In the Book of Revelations, the story tells us that we will all come together.
So, it is not surprise that Christ is born a few short weeks from Sukkot.
It is a reminder that the Christmas story is about the birth of God’s Son, the Maschiach (Messiah). So, don’t be afraid to pull out your palm trees along with your evergreen trees to celebrate Christmas. Jesus was born in the Middle East, after all, with sand and desert.