I didn’t grow up building a sukkah, blowing the shofar, or breaking a fast with a feast. For me, it was Christmas trees, stockings over a mantle and Advent wreaths. When God moved on our hearts to learn more about the Jewish roots of our faith, we fell in love with His Biblical Feasts—my favorite, the Feast of Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths).
Our First Sukkah
The first time our family built a sukkah we got splinters, bruised thumbs and worked up more than a few beads of sweat. But the first night we ate under the stars was nothing short of magical. Our decorations were simple: dried cornstalks and fallen branches for the roof, homemade decorations, and lights. Simple though they were, each overflowed with imagery of God’s Word and His promises to us. A great many insights were discovered under the stars while eating brisket and kugel.
If you are planning to build your first sukkah or just need some new ideas for decorations, here are some favorites from the Gillespie household:
- Lights: Light represents so many things in the Bible, most especially Yeshua the Light of the World (John 8:12 TLV). There are so many types and colors of stringed lights available these days, but we love the white twinkling lights because they remind us of stars. Candles on the tables are beautiful features that also produce a little warmth – nice on those cold evenings. By candlelight and twinkling light, we imagine what the Children of Israel saw their first night of freedom in the desert, and remember our first night of freedom when we accepted Yeshua into our hearts.
- Fruit: We love hanging fruit in our tabernacle. Pomegranates, apples, orange and lemon slices. Technically, squash is a fruit, so yes, pumpkins on the table are lovely, too. One year, our daughter made pomanders out of oranges and cloves then strung them up with pretty ribbons. Oh my, our sukkah smelled so good that year! Whether artificial, or fresh, fruit not only adds beauty to your booth but brings special opportunities for your family to discuss Biblical insights, such as the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23 TLV).
- Paper: There’s something sweet about a child’s rendering of a star, or a colorful paper chain draping from the sukkah’s rafters. For us, paper represents the scrolls upon which the Jewish scribes wrote the Scriptures. Making little scrolls and printing their favorite Bible verses on them can make wonderful decorations.
Imagine all the lively discussions your family can have about Moses reading to the Children of Israel (Exodus 24:7 TLV), how God’s Word became flesh when Yeshua came into this world (John 1:14), as well as sharing why a particular verse is so meaningful to them. Whatever media you choose to decorate your sukkah, why not make it more than just pretty, make them symbols and reminders of God’s goodness and love for us! Chag Sameach! •
Introducing The Family Altar Initiative
The Tree of Life Bible Society is building 700 Family Altars in homes across the United States of America by Thanksgiving 2019.
That is 700 families making the decision to love God and love one another.
Since 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first President to declare the week of Thanksgiving as National Bible Week. At the time, the National Bible Association read passages on the air as NBC between radio broadcasts. Since then, every President has declared the week of Thanksgiving National Bible Week.
By joining the Family Altar Initiative, you can be 1 of the 700 families that will be gathered together around God’s Word during their Thanksgiving meals.