My thoughts (Brenda Corbello):
In doing some research into the Jewish tradition of Purim, I learned quite a bit about this story that I had not learned as a girl growing up in the Southern Baptist tradition. I have to admit, we did not talk about any stories in the Bible which may have encouraged a “holiday for parties and fun and laughter.”
It appears that even today the Jewish culture in Israel has a “no holds barred” approach to the celebration of this story of Esther. There are costumes, wine, gifts, and general merry making. How have I missed this all these years?
What interesting questions all this kind of celebrating brings up for me. It appears to me that certain religious people in the U.S. seem to have totally lost the concept of pure joy and celebration. These people were so filled with joy that they not only celebrated for two days, but made sure that their descendants promised to continue the tradition. These two days in the Hebrew month of Adar (around February or March) are celebrated even today in a very big way.
I feel like I am seeing another side of God. I have lived for many years now in a community which does not shy away from celebrations, costumes, and a little party every now and then, but there has always been a part of me that was not quite sure that this was in God’s plan. I have never doubted that God loves me unconditionally, but being raised in a very conservative environment has at times made me feel guilty if I was having too much fun.
The Jewish people may have a considerable amount to be thankful for from Esther, but today I feel very thankful for her myself. In honor of Esther, I believe I will celebrate what God has done for me, and have a little party.
Thought for the day: If you are grateful for what God has done for you and for being delivered from fear and pain, then lift your hands and do a little dance. Make some noise and give a gift to someone in need. You may just feel a bit closer to God after that as well.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.