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Being a Light to Others While Keeping the Feast at Home

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Being a Light to Others While Keeping the Feast at Home

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I share an office at work (as a teacher) this year with two other folks, and it has been a very hot summer out here in Oregon. Consequently now that we’re back to school, it has been 90-plus degrees nearly every day since we’ve been back. Our school is older and doesn’t have air conditioning, instead acting like an enormous brick pizza oven. The kids are miserable, we’re miserable, and as you might imagine, we’re all ready for the cooler fall weather. Our shared office has a couple of large banks of older fluorescent lights, and we noticed early on in the year how much heat they produced, so one of the tricks that we have been using to stay cool is to keep the lights in our office off in order to prevent the extra heat from the lights from tipping it over the edge from uncomfortable to unbearable.

Keeping the Feast at home provides a unique opportunity to be a light to the people you interact with on a regular basis.

There was only one issue.

Have you ever tried to complete work-related tasks in the dark?

It’s so much more difficult and slower than completing them in full light. We had to stay cool, but we also needed to complete our work. So I brought a small desk lamp with me from home and set it up at my workstation. I switched it on and was absolutely blown away by how much that one single bulb brought light to the darkness. It filled the space—and not just on my desk. It reflected off of the walls, the ceiling, and brought light to the entire room. Enough at least that we were able to get work done more effectively while still staying (somewhat) cool.

When I taught physics, we talked about the science behind light. There’s a lot to it, but for our purposes here, light falls into two sources: coherent and incoherent.

Coherent light has all of the photons (essentially, particles of light) in step—the wavelengths are the same, the frequency is the same, and there are no abrupt phase changes. LASERS are a great example of this. Regular incandescent, LED or fluorescent light that is used to light our homes is “incoherent.” With incoherent light, the photons are not in step, the wavelengths and frequencies are random, and the waves change phase at random.

As a result, a laser would not be used to light a room—the beam won’t spread out and fill the space. Instead we use incoherent light sources to fill a room. They spread out, filling every inch of the space with light in all directions. They push through the darkness and provide light to see.

In Matthew 5:13-16 Matthew 5:13-16 13 You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×
, in the midst of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ made the following statement to those who were gathered to listen to His teachings:

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16 Matthew 5:13-16 13 You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall it be salted? it is thereafter good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×
).

In the night, traveling around Judea, the lights of Jerusalem—a city on a hill—could be seen for miles and draw people to it, much like a lighthouse makes known where the shore is for ships on the sea. Because of this principle, people shouldn’t take their own light and place it under a bushel. Instead it is to be elevated onto a candlestick to give light to the whole house. We are admonished to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works—and glorify. Not us, but our Father who is in heaven.

The importance of our example to those around us cannot be understated. People would rather see a sermon than hear one. And for some, we might be the only “Bible” they ever read. Our proper actions bring glory to our Father, and likewise, the reverse of that is true as well.

We are instructed by Jesus Christ in this passage from the sermon on the mount to be just like that light bulb in my office, that small light in the darkness that lights up the entire room. A light that people can see and navigate towards; a soft and gentle light in the darkness that people desire to gather around.

The Feast of Tabernacles offers us all an opportunity to be a light to a world that doesn’t know about God’s way.

Thousands of individuals will arrive in various cities around the world to keep the Feast of Tabernacles in just a few short days. Their example and attitude will be seen by those they interact with in the community as the eight days progress.

Everyone will have an opportunity to be a light.

But what if you’re keeping the Feast at home? Just because we happen to be keeping the Feast in our home doesn’t absolve us of the admonition to be a light.

How can you be a light to others while keeping the Feast at home?

Be joyful and rejoice!

It can be frustrating at times to have to keep the Feast at home due to unexpected or bad circumstances. The important thing to remember is that while you may not have control over the situation that prevented you from traveling, you do have control over how you respond to that situation, and your attitude.

During the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with various individuals: your family, perhaps caregivers or other individuals as you go about town, fellow students, coworkers and many more.

Our attitude during the Feast of Tabernacles, whether at home or at a festival site, is important. We’re commanded to rejoice! In fact, the Feast of Tabernacles is known to the Jewish people as “the Season of our Joy.” There are more references to rejoicing and being joyful connected to the Feast of Tabernacles than to any other of God’s festivals (Deuteronomy 16:14 Deuteronomy 16:14And you shall rejoice in your feast, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within your gates.
American King James Version×
; Leviticus 23:40 Leviticus 23:40And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.
American King James Version×
). Find ways to make the Feast special, and rejoice in the Feast.

To be a light to others while keeping the Feast of Tabernacles at home—be joyful! Rejoice!

Connect with others who are also keeping the Feast of Tabernacles at home

In most congregations, there are a fair number of individuals who are unable to travel to keep the Feast of Tabernacles and who keep the Feast in their homes, for a variety of reasons. If you’re able, connecting with those individuals in some way, however small, can really make a difference in their Feast experience as well as your own.

• If you have the ability, grab a coffee or a meal with one of them and get to know them better.

• If you can, send cards or small gifts to those who are unable to attend.

• Call someone who is keeping the Feast at home and offer a warm conversation.

• If you’re able, connect up with them for an afternoon. Go for a walk, or just spend some time together.

• Pray for your brethren who are in various places. Pray for their safety and for their spiritual enrichment.

Connecting with others can help to create that festival atmosphere. It is contagious, enabling you to share that festival atmosphere with others, letting your light shine.

Remember the why

Remembering the reasons why we are keeping the Feast of Tabernacles is something that is important whether we keep the Feast at home or we keep it with others at a festival site. The seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles represent the 1,000 years of the Millennium, the initial kick-off of God’s Kingdom on earth. While we keep the Feast, we try to focus on that millennial setting and what that Kingdom will be like, keeping a Kingdom-centered focus for the eight days of the festival.

It is incredibly important to not just let those days become a regular week. We need to keep that Kingdom centered focus throughout our daily activities, looking for and creating opportunities to reflect that Kingdom through us.

Jesus admonishes us to seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness, and everything else will follow (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×
). If our focus is the Kingdom and we keep that front and center—in addition to needed material blessings and spiritual blessings—godly action will follow. This will cause our light to shine even brighter in the darkness of this world.

Don’t let the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Eighth Day become just another week— remember the why .

Keeping the Feast at home provides a unique opportunity to be a light to the people you interact with on a regular basis. For many who attend at a far-flung festival site, they’re interacting with perfect strangers. You have the chance to illustrate the joy and hope in your heart through your interactions with others, to rejoice and connect with others who needed to remain home for whatever reason and make the days special. It might offer an opportunity to educate someone on the Feast and its part in God’s plan. Go and get a coffee and get to know one of your brethren better, or pray for others keeping the Feast in far-flung places.

Just like a small light bulb can fill an entire office wall-to-wall with a warm, comfortable light, so too can your attitude and actions provide needed light to others during these days.

Let your light shine bright!

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