Esther 9:20-32

The Feast of Purim Instituted

20 Then Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, 21 obliging them to celebrate the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day [k]of the same month, annually, 22 because on those days the Jews [l]rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a [m]holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

23 Thus the Jews undertook what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them. 24 For Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the adversary of all the Jews, had schemed against the Jews to destroy them and had cast Pur, that is the lot, to disturb them and destroy them. 25 But when it came [n]to the king’s attention, he commanded by letter that his wicked scheme which he had [o]devised against the Jews, should return on his own head and that he and his sons should be hanged on the [p]gallows. 26 Therefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. [q]And because of the instructions in this letter, both what they had seen in this regard and what had happened to them, 27 the Jews established and [r]made a custom for themselves and for their [s]descendants and for all those who allied themselves with them, so that [t]they would not fail to celebrate these two days according to their [u]regulation and according to their appointed time annually. 28 So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim were not to [v]fail from among the Jews, or their memory [w]fade from their [x]descendants.

29 Then Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter about Purim. 30 He sent letters to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, namely, words of peace and truth, 31 to establish these days of Purim at their appointed times, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had established for them, and just as they had established for themselves and for their [y]descendants with [z]instructions for their times of fasting and their lamentations. 32 The command of Esther established these [aa]customs for Purim, and it was written in the book.

In all the celebration during the feast of Purim, I think it is interesting that part of the celebration included the giving of gifts and giving to the poor. It wasn’t enough to feast and revel in their victory, as that would fail to recognize the generous mercy God showed in rescuing the Jews.

We focus far too much on ourselves when we celebrate, and forget that we have much to be thankful for, and that generosity should be a natural occurrence when we have a heart of gratitude. We would do well indeed to remember generosity throughout all our days, but especially on our holidays.

With all the craziness of life, it can be easy to get lost in the details of just making ends meet. But before we do anything else, we should seek to emulate the heart of God, and be generous. Obviously, the amount will vary depending on our means, but we can’t follow God very well if we ignore giving to others. And if you don’t have any money, you still can give of your time and talents, those are gifts that should certainly not be overlooked. No matter what, be intentional, and don’t relegate giving out of your “leftovers”. As others have said before me “its the most fun you can have with money” and the same also applies when you give of your time and skills to help others.

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