October 14

This Sunday as we look at the ending of the story of Esther we come to a very important part of her heritage: the celebration.
20 Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, 21 to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar 22 as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor. (Esther 9:20-22)
How are you at celebrating?

Seems like an odd question, doesn’t it. We would think that we would be quick to say that we love to celebrate, that we’re all about a good party. But I wonder if that’s really true of most of us. Maybe it’s a part of our human nature, but it seems that sometimes we are automatically a little suspicious when someone seems to be too, well, happy.
The truth is, Christians, of all people, should be a happy lot. That doesn’t mean that we are “happy” when it’s out of place—when it is disrespectful, or seems to contradict the seriousness or even difficulty of the moment. For example, Mordecai and Esther and the other Jews prayed and fasted and mourned when the news came of the wicked Haman’s plot to have them killed. (Esther 4:1-3, 15-16) But when they had experienced God’s blessing and providential deliverance, they celebrated that great victory with a big party that continues annually even to the present time.
Scripture says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15) You may have heard me say before that I believe for many of us we find it much more difficult to share in the joy and celebration with others over their good fortune and blessings than to mourn with them in their suffering. I think sometimes we even find it hard to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate our own blessings. Our Lord was able to rejoice with others just as easily and naturally as when He shared their suffering. His first miracle was at a wedding reception! Paul called on the Christians of his day to do both. We must do both as well.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small, Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Have you counted—and celebrated—your blessings lately?

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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