By guest writer, Ellen Ceely
“Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, ‘Moreover, the gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, is standing at Haman's house, fifty cubits high.’ And the king said, ‘Hang him on that.’ So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated… And Mordecai recorded these things and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, obliging them to keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar and also the fifteenth day of the same, year by year, as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.” - Esther 7:9-10; 9:20-22
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. There’s something about it that reminds me that not everything in life is going wrong, that we can find hope and peace in the world even when the world seems to be on fire. It reminds me to do exactly what it was named for: be thankful for all I have, and all the Lord has done.
Mordecai’s directive to the Jews in today’s passage reminds me of Thanksgiving. He wants them to remember, every year, that they were saved from certain death. The days that were supposed to mark their destruction are now meant to mark their deliverance! It’s two days to decorate and feast and send presents to each other. It’s two days of joy and remembering that peace and hope are still possible in a world that oftentimes feels overwhelmingly evil. Why? Because of God and his never-changing character and love.
The Thanksgiving celebration that Mordecai commanded points to all God has done for his people and all he will continue to do for them. Christmas reminds us of God breaking into a broken world to redeem it, and Easter reminds us of Jesus’s salvific defeat over sin and death. Thanksgiving, however, points toward a day when complete deliverance and eternal celebration will be possible through faith in Christ. It reminds us that hope is never lost and God is always at work. One day we will remember how God delivered us from our enemies and turned our sorrow into gladness forever!
The promise and hope of Thanksgiving Day doesn’t need to be limited to one day a year. As you continue to seek after how God would have you serve him, what are some ways that you can build in moments of celebration for all God has done? How can you remember the things God has helped you overcome in your everyday life and the blessings he’s given you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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