Friday, April 20, 2012

Holiday Celebration

Then the king gave a great banquet, Esther's banquet, for all his princes and his servants; he also made a holiday for the provinces and gave gifts according to the king's bounty. (Esther 2:18 NAS)

Happy HolidaysAccording to a news article in The Telegraph, a national holiday was declared by Kenya when Barack Obama won America’s presidential election in 2008. The declaration was greeted with scenes of wild celebration in the home village of Nyangoma Kogelo in western Kenya. Kgalema Motlanthe, the South African president, told Mr Obama then that his election "carries with it hope for millions of … countrymen and women as much as it is for millions of people particularly of African descent both in the continent of Africa as well as those in the Diaspora."

"We have a new spring in our walk and our shoulders are straighter," said Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town. He added saying, it told "people of color that for them, the sky is the limit."

Like the national holiday declared by Kenya to celebrate President Obama’s electoral victory, the Bible mentioned a holiday that was declared by King Ahasuerus in celebration of Esther's royal crowning as queen (Esther 2:17-18). The occasion was greeted with grandeur like a dream come true, a blessing bestowed that seemingly guaranteed a safe haven for the people of Israel, since Queen Esther was also a Jew. Sadly, however, that was not to be the case, for Haman—one of the king’s men—had other plans for the sons of Israel.

The days of holidaying ceased as Haman’s plans unfolded, and although Queen Esther found favor in the eyes of the king, it was not for the purpose of Israel’s acceptance that God had in mind. Esther’s appointment as queen was for a reason—to save the people of Israel (Esther 4:14). We know the rest of the story, how the Jews in exile were delivered from destruction and Mordecai from the gallows.

When the king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves, wherever the king's decree arrived, the Jews rejoiced with great celebration and declared a public festival and holiday (Esther 8:11, 17). After the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, their sorrow was turned into gladness, from mourning into a holiday with feasting and rejoicing, the sharing of food among one another, and the giving of gifts to the poor (Esther 9:22).

What about us? How do we celebrate our victories and success when God turned our mourning into joy? Do we celebrate the occasion with worship and thanksgiving to God in declaring it a holy day of rejoicing to share food with one another and give gifts to the poor? While it is understandable for us to readily spend excessively on our own holidaying, we should not forget the needy in our midst. Let us therefore not hesitate to bring food and material goods to the poor, for they need all these more than us. In the same way, let us also share with them spiritual food to satisfy their hungry souls in bringing to them the joy of salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rather than wait till Christmas or special occasions, let us always be ready to give good gifts and carry with us hope to the millions in grandeur display of God’s generosity and bountiful mercies. For with God the sky is not the limit; with Him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27). Rejoice and be glad, for each new day is a day the LORD has made (Psalm 118:24). Like a new spring in our walk that comes with each new day, let us with shoulders straightened and upright, march forth without shame to share the gospel of Christ to bring joy and salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

Thank You dear Lord for making the impossible possible, and for turning our sorrow into joy, our mourning into a holiday of celebration. We rejoice O Lord for each new day is a day made by You, and You have saved us from death and given us eternal life. Renew the joy of our salvation Lord that we may celebrate each day and especially the Lord's Day each week to keep it holy. Grant us a willing heart Lord to share what we have with those in need, to bring to them food and Your salvation that they may like us experience Your bountiful blessings poured down without limit.

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