For the rest of Sukkot, we camped out at our friends' farm in Climax, NC. They have a beautiful new (old) farm that they bought and are homesteading on. Matt and I put up a sukkah the Sunday before and then Kallie, Rebecca and the kids worked on decorating it. On the green penants, the scriptures regarding the celebration of sukkot are written. Kallie had a wonderful vision for this lovely sukkah! This is a family favorite time of year. We love The Feast of Tabernacles AND we love camping. We all (esp Rebecca and the kids) look so forward to camping each year. Sleeping outside, more easy relaxed pace of the days, celebrations and fun, cooking outside, campfires, etc--all really good stuff. It has become such a wonderful tradition.
It was big enough that we could all eat under it. Sadly, it rained almost every evening, so we only got to eat in it as a group one time. While it usually does rain on Sukkot, this year was particularly wet (i mean it rained a lot) so things like the sukkah and our tent were perpetually damp. We didn't even get to have a campfire. But it was a good week nonetheless.
Our kids made Citron (Etrog) suncatchers and foam lanterns in the colors of the Israeli flag in the days leading up to Sukkot to add to the decorations.
One of the traditions of Sukkot is to invite "Ushpizin" to come visit your sukkah. The Ushpizin can be any of the forefathers like Abraham, Jospeh or Moses. In keeping with that tradition, we focused each day on a particular ancestor. Throughout the week, all the kids did crafts based on the various forefathers. We made rainbow wind socks after telling the story of Noah but they got pretty well ruined by the rain shortly after we hung them.
This particular craft was from Moses and the burning bush.
We painted rocks after reading Ex 33:12-23. Moses is interceding for the people and asks God to show his favor and presence on the people. God tells Moses to stand on the rock as he passes by him and puts him in the cleft of the rock and covers him.
This craft was based on Ruth and Boaz, who are ancestors of David and therefore Yeshua. The kids went out into the fields and "gleaned" some of the wildflowers that were growing and made bundles of them. The kids also made hearts after hearing the story of David and learning about his heart for worship and obedience for God. And they learned about Daniel and how he stood up for the truth and prayed to the One True God.
The kids had made pinwheels to put outside our tent as decoration, but sadly, they were pretty well destroyed by the rain. Amazingly they survived the first 3 rains but then couldn't stand anymore. We gave into the poor weather and abandoned our tent and camping on the Tuesday the 6th/7th day of Sukkot. It had rained multiple times that night (and pretty hard) and we woke up to rain and drizzle that morning. We decided to head home to dry off some. And then we even took a very last minute spontaneous trip to the mountains (where the weather was a better than in Greensboro) that night and the next day to pick apples. We had been wanting to do this since Yom Teruah and just hadn't had the opportunity. So we made some last minute arrangements and just went. You will see more about that in the next blogpost.
The last tradition and highlight for us surrounding Sukkot is the birth of Yeshua. He is God and came to dwell among us for a time. He embodies the Torah and teaches us how to live it. He is our Messiah and we would be no where without the grace and mercy of our Abba God and his son Yeshua. There's a lot of evidence that this is the time of year when he was actually born, so we baked a cake to celebrate his birthday! The end of Sukkot is also the end of the yearly cycle of scripture readings in the Jewish tradition. So we would celebrate that by unrolling and rerolling back of the scroll in a day or so. More about that in an upcoming blogpost too. But Yeshua is the living breathing scriptures. It is all a celebration of God's word and his very being among us. Our connection to God. And we would be no where without that.
We also did our variation on the Jesse Tree starting about 3 weeks before Sukkot so that we finished on the first night. We talked about the lineage of Messiah Yeshua and the prophecies that he fulfilled as Messiah.