The Feast of Tabernacles is a most special time of year. In the weeks that lead up to the opening night of this great festival, excitement mounts as our plans and preparations take on an increasing urgency. A positive tension fills the air in those households where children are taught to anticipate the joys of this wonderful season that depicts such a marvelous future for God’s creation, which commences its fulfillment at the return of Jesus Christ, typed by the Feast of Trumpets.
One of the great fruits of God’s Holy Spirit should most especially be in evidence at this time of the year: the fruit of joy!
The better organized our planning—and the more prayerfully driven those plans are to fulfillment—the greater will be the joy and the peace we experience at this great festival.
In our experiencing of that special joy that this festival season brings, we ought to be mindful of our need to express that joy to others. For joy to be fully experienced, it must truly be linked with an outgoing expression of the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit to others. The fruit of joy is a natural outgrowth of the very first fruit of God’s Holy Spirit, the fruit of love. In fact, six fruits of God’s Holy Spirit are predicated on the first three mentioned in Galatians 5, and of those first three, neither the second or third is possible without the primary possession and expression of the very first, the fruit of love!
It is love that yields true joy. It is the possession of God’s love and His joy that brings perfect inner peace. The fruits of love, joy and peace yield a well-rounded converted personality that is attuned to the further expression of those other fruits of God’s Holy Spirit—patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are simply the results, the very fruits, of willing submission to God’s law of love!
Thus, the special joy—the festive spirit—that pervades God’s specially selected Feast sites around the world at this time of year is but a natural outgrowth of our willing submission to the extra-concentrated dose of instruction in God’s law and His Word that we receive during this greatest spiritual Feast of the year!
True joy cannot be contained. It simply must be expressed to others to reach its true value. It is important that we spread that festive spirit to all with whom we come in contact during this great festival season.
Express Joy to God!
Here is a wonderful opportunity, during the Feast of Tabernacles, away from all our normal daily cares, to take time in prayer to express our deep and humble gratefulness to God for all He has done for us through the year to permit us to be at these specially selected locations to celebrate the World Tomorrow in advance of that great event occurring.
With the extra-sharp perspective that God’s end-time, last-hour Church has on time, we can certainly rejoice to God in our festive prayers for His graciousness in granting us all such wonderful insight into the prophecies about the events that are literally occurring—prophesied so long ago—but being fulfilled, at this very moment, now!
Rejoice before God in prayer, in song, in true worship and joyful fellowship each day of the Feast in an expression of the deepest gratitude for the wonder of revelation that He continues to give to His inner court remnant (Psalm 32:11).
Express Joy to Your Mate!
What a great time is the Feast of Tabernacles for expressing deep love and true joy to your partner in marriage!
Truly, the very feast that depicts the marriage supper—of the Groom, Jesus Christ, to His beloved Wife, the Church of God—can be a real honeymoon event for those who are working at building a Christ-like marriage with their God-given mate!
Make this Feast a special Feast of joy for your life’s partner (Proverbs 5:18). Use the Feast of Tabernacles as a special occasion to build your marriage on the fruits of true godly love and joy!
Give Joy to Your Family!
Being privileged to raise three offspring in the Church from birth, I have witnessed the power of God’s truth fixing the Feast of Tabernacles within the minds of those three as the most memorable occasion of the year (Proverbs 22:6). Decades of festival memories have built up in their minds to reinforce their own efforts now in teaching a third generation (our seven grandchildren) these wondrous truths—to teach the true joys of God’s great Feast of Tabernacles! Seeing the wonder of God’s truth passed from generation to generation within one’s own family brings unsurpassed joy in itself.
Take full advantage of this great festival season to build up an air of real, joyful anticipation of the coming Feast. Involve each member of the family, no matter how young, in the family’s festival plans. Select a particular activity or experience that is personally attuned to the special likes of the individual child and give him or her that experience at this Feast.
Especially stress the spiritual aspects of this great festival. Make the images of the World Tomorrow glow with vivid, colorful description in your instruction as you teach your children the depth of meaning in the great Feast of Tabernacles. Use their imaginations to cultivate a wondrous mental image of the World Tomorrow that will be foremost in their minds as they experience the Feast of Tabernacles this year.
Spread real festive joy within your family!
Give Joy to Your Brethren!
The Apostle Paul admonishes us to have a special love for God’s people (Galatians 6:10). Surely in this festive season that special love should be even more alive!
Be attuned to every opportunity to raise the level of joy of your brethren at the Feast this year. Look for and anticipate those opportunities to uplift the aged, the infirmed, those of whom you are aware who have been experiencing particularly tough trials during the year. Be sensitive to those in need, be it a financial need, a need for company, a need for a ready ear, or just a need for them to express their joy to another. Be a ready recipient of the expression of joy from your fellow brethren as well as reaching out to them to express your joy!
Joy is a naturally compounding phenomenon. The more you express it, the more your joy impacts others to give out as well. The more it spreads abroad, the more its tendency to run full circle back to you. This just adds to your own personal experience of joy giving further impact to its wonderful fruit in your own life! And that just spurs you on to give the more!
When the cycle is complete, that joy flows on back to the ultimate Giver of joy, the Eternal God, to further enhance His personal joy with His begotten brethren in His own Family!
Spread Joy in the Community!
Over decades of history of the Philadelphia era of God’s Church under Herbert W. Armstrong’s administration, we often heard of whole communities that were uplifted by the experience of hosting the Church for the Feast of Tabernacles in their town or city.
It is God Himself who selects these festival sites. He places His own name on those festival sites for a brief eight-day period when the surrounding community receives special blessings for reasons unbeknownst to them except for the fact that they are associated with an annual festival observed in that community by members of the Philadelphia Church of God.
The public relations benefit that comes from a group of happy, smiling, truly joyful people for this period can hardly be overestimated (Matthew 5:16).
The Feast of Tabernacles is a prime opportunity for us all to be a positive witness to the surrounding community of pure religion practiced by God’s own Church. Here is the opportunity for us all to truly let our lights shine, to savor the surrounding community with the salt of God’s character as expressed by His people through the power of His Holy Spirit in action! This year, resolve to let your light shine brightly. Let your smile go before you as a witness to the true joy that fills you up to overflowing with true rejoicing in this festival season!
Resolve now to truly spread the fruit of joy at this year’s Feast of Tabernacles, and it will undoubtedly become the very best yet!