Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term Pur. Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had happened to them, the Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants. Esther 9:26-28
Please read the verses listed above today. You can read the context in chapters 9 and 10. The Pur (lot) had been cast (3:7) to determine the date of the destruction of the Jews, which brought great mourning. But, as God rescued the Jews from their enemy, what would have been a day of great sorrow turned into a cause for celebration. They were not to celebrate the day of the battle, but the day after, when they experienced relief from the decree. The celebration was to be a reminder of the reversal of Haman’s decree. To this day, Purim is celebrated by the Jews. It is, many times, more of a national celebration rather than a religious celebration. Purim is a community holiday of joyful celebration. The centerpiece of the communal celebration is the reading of the Scroll of Esther, the Megillah, in the synagogue. This is a raucous affair, with whoops, hollers, and noise every time Haman’s name is mentioned, so that no one can hear the name of this horrible evildoer. There are cheers when Mordecai’s name is mentioned. While the celebration remembers the deliverance of the Jews, it does not necessarily remember the Giver of that deliverance. We are approaching times of celebration on our calendar: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. How will you celebrate? What will you remember? Will it be a day of celebration of the temporary or will your eyes and heart be turned to the faithful God who has revealed his hand to you in multiple ways?