We don't celebrate Christmas in our family, but we did notice a similarity yesterday when we celebrated Purim. Purim is the story of Esther in the Bible. Thanks to one lady who is a godly example of what a wife should be, the history of the world was forever changed. Without Esther, the Jews would have been totally annihilated. Without the Jews, there would be no King of the Jews, no Savior of the world, no Jesus. What an incredibly important role in the history of the world! What a terrific story! This story reminds us of the Providence of God. He will always do what He purposes. Satan can never thwart Him, no matter how hard he tries. The annihilation of the Jews has been attempted over and over throughout history, but God has proved Himself faithful every time. In fact, God is faithful to us even when we aren't faithful to Him. Praise be! What a great reason to celebrate!
When we celebrate holidays in our family, we like to celebrate as close to what it says in God's Word as possible. Of course, we do not offer sacrifices and things like that anymore! Here is an excerpt from Esther 9 that tells about Purim, which is NOT one of God's commanded feasts for the Israelites:
And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. So the Jews accepted the custom which they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them, because Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to annihilate them, and had cast Pur (that is, the lot), to consume them and destroy them; but when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letter that this wicked plot which Haman had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur.
Notice that they are to be days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor. So that's what we do on the 14th of Adar, which was the 14th of March this year. We like to read the story of Esther in one sitting each year as well, usually incorporating it into a play. I read the whole book of Esther, while everyone else acts it out. We always have guests over for this occasion, and they are the actors! As I read, they act out what I'm saying, or I give them a speaking part. It's a fun way to celebrate God's Providence and learn His Word. Mark was gone on Purim this year, so we acted out the story with some good friends on the evening of the 13th (by Jewish reckoning - OK, God's reckoning! - the date starts the evening before). Nearly everyone was female, but most of the parts were male, so they had to do some extra acting this time! Natasha made a great king and Joshua was a good sport.
When Mark got home, on Saturday, we had part 2 of the celebration - feasting and presents! Doesn't this remind you of anything?
We always remember the poor in some way as well, but we will leave that in secret.
Is it mandatory that we celebrate Purim? Is it mandatory that you celebrate Christmas? No, but it sure is a fun way to learn His Word and celebrate the awesome attributes of a Providential God!