Christmas and the Healing Power of Community
Ushpizin Tradition during The Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles:
- Took place in 15th day of Tishrei (Sep/Oct)
- It was known as the Feast of Great Joy
- It was the only Feast where Gentiles were allowed to participate
- Celebrated by lodging in temporary booths
- Commemorated God with them (Emmanuel) in the wilderness.
>>> It prophetically anticipated the coming of Jesus.
- The Angels said about Jesus that His coming was news of great joy
- The Angels said that Jesus’ coming was not just for the Jews but for all people
- Jesus was born in a temporary lodging because there was no room in the inn
- Jesus was called Emmanuel
The Aramaic word is Ushpizin is prophetically loaded:
Ushpizin means “Guest”
The Jews anticipate a visitation of 7 Shepherd guests
The Shepherds were the first to be told of Jesus’ birth
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Shepherds the lowest caste in Jesus’ day:
– Stereotyped Second-class citizens and unworthy of trust.
- Rabbis banned pasturing sheep and goats in Israel, except on the desert plains.
- Considered incompetent
- They could not hold judicial offices or be admitted in court as witnesses.
- Shepherds were officially labeled sinners
>>> Jesus aligns himself with the scum of the earth. He call them in. He was a friend of sinners. They are welcome.
Ushpiza means “innkeeper”
- There was no room at the inn.
>>> This speaks to the divine trade.
The wise men went to the palace to find Jesus but Jesus was in the back garden shed.
Jesus took our place so we could get the palace!
Me’ushpaz means hospital
Me’ushpaz comes from the same root word as Ushpizin. It means hospital.
– The Jews recognized the healing power of hospitality.
- In the story of the Good Samaritan the man is taken to the inn to convalesce.
>>> There is something healing about hospitality.
- Created for relationship.
- God and us. Us and people.
- It was not good for Adam to be alone.
- Disconnection was a product of the fall.
- Adam alone in the the woods
Bowling alone – Robert Putnam Sociologist
- Placed an economic figure on community
- More people in bowling but less in bowling leagues. People are bowling alone.
- Increase in anxiety, insomnia, suicide, depression, heart conditions.
His findings showed us that our aloneness is killing us.
Christmas is meant to be a season of coming together but so often not.
Jesus called his community the Church = Ecclesia which means the gathered ones.
The Ushpizin Tradition put value a Godly value on the honoured guests coming.
The remedy for disconnection = forgiveness . It gets rid of the toxins of disconnection.
Community does not work without Jesus at the centre:
Jesus placed in the manager = forgiveness.