Don’t you love Thanksgiving! The Pilgrims and Native Americans had a good idea in 1621.
Well, long before that, God had a good idea for a fall festival of thanksgiving called The Feast of Tabernacles. It was to come at the end of the growing season when all the wheat harvest was in, not just the barley harvest.
All of the olives were in, and had been pressed to provide precious olive oil to sustain life through the winter—there were no refrigerators in those days to store precious calories.
All of the fruit was in—the citrus, the pomegranates, the figs and the grapes.
But unlike our day of Thanksgiving formally put in place when President Lincoln declared it as a one day holiday in 1863, God proclaimed that his agricultural festival of feasting and giving thanks should last eight full days.
Well, when Jesus, God incarnate, walked the earth, he loved to use the imagery of agriculture. He even used it to describe his own ministry.
Jesus said he was the Son of Man who sowed the good seed. The field is the world, the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The harvest is at the end of the age. And, the harvesters are the angels (Matthew 13:36-43).
The Son of Man used harvest imagery to point his people to the grand harvest of souls—harvested from every field on earth, from every nation under heaven.
In Revelation Jesus showed the Apostle John that grand harvest. John says,
I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands (Rev. 7:9).
This great multitude was holding “palm branches.” That is code to let us know that Jesus is describing the Thanksgiving feast to top all Thanksgivings. You see, an invitation to the fall festival of thanksgiving, the Feast of Tabernacles, could read something like, “Please join our family for Thanksgiving—BYOPB” (Bring Your Own Palm Branches).
Well, this year my family will place a small branch on our table to remind us of that ultimate Thanksgiving that will surpass all thanksgivings.
Our family of seven has been invited to that Thanksgiving. You are invited!
In fact, we think Jesus is already preparing the meal.
Toby and Cynthia, Acacia, Tolly, Lena, Clare, and Ethan