On faith: Plenty to think about this monthEven in our busy lives, September is a time of anticipation and change.
By: From Pastor Jim Joseph, Living Waters Fellowship, Lake County News Chronicle
September is a beautiful time of the year, especially along the North Shore of Lake Superior. The trees begin to blush as the first kiss of autumn brushes their leaves. Apples sweeten as the air grows cooler. Summer’s reign ends and the earth begins to prepare for winter’s onslaught. Change begins.
Even in our busy lives, September is a time of anticipation and change. Vacations end and throngs of ruddy-cheeked school children make their way into freshly-cleaned classrooms with backpacks full of supplies and hearts full of anticipation and fear. The playful, relaxed time of summer gives way to work and study, preparation and fulfillment.
As a nation, we remember that horrific day of Sept. 11, 2001, when hate-driven, evil men commandeered four commercial airliners and attacked our people, destroying both of the World Trade Center’s main towers, crashing into the Pentagon, and (thanks to the heroism of brave men and women) diving into a field in Pennsylvania, killing all on aboard, but averting another disaster.
Thousands were killed that day. We remember them and the pain of those who were left behind to mourn and to live. We also remember those brave first-responders who worked so diligently, regardless of their own well-being to save as many as possible from the rubble of that attack. Thank you.
September is also a holy time. The Hebrew people celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment or Remembrance; Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement; and, five days later, Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. Tabernacles is the third of three annual feasts in which the Lord required all able-bodied men to go to Jerusalem and worship Him (Exodus 23:14-17). The other two are Passover and Pentecost.
Sukkot (or Tabernacles) is a celebration of the harvest and the gathering of the crops from the fields. It also reminds the children of Israel of their wanderings in the wilderness until the Lord gathered them into the land He had promised them. Families build booths to live in during the feast in commemoration of those 40 years of wandering. Both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures prophecy of a time when the Lord, Himself will come and tabernacle with men, dwelling with us forever.
The promise of “God with us” began to be fulfilled with the birth of Jesus Christ. While we may not be able to pinpoint the exact date, many scholars believe that He was born in the month of September or October in 3 or 4 BC. That He was born on the Feast of Tabernacles seems to be inferred by the Apostle John in his Gospel where he declared that “the Word was made flesh, and tabernacle among us” (John 1:14). Based on this and many other historical considerations, some scholars have concluded that Jesus was actually born Sept. 11, 3 BC.
Jesus is Emmanuel, God with Us. His birth was foretold by the Hebrew prophets and recorded in the Gospel records. He has promised never to leave or abandon us. And He has promised eternal life to all who put their trust in Him.
Christina Rosetti in her poem, “In the Bleak Midwinter,” asks “What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb/If I were a wise man I would do my part/Yet what I can I give Him, I’ll give my heart.”
I can think of no better gift to bring Him. What about you?
This is a repeat of a column that ran in 2010. We liked it so much, we thought it would serve well again.