Our Bible verse for today: “Then he said to them, ‘Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “It is good for God’s people to celebrate.”
It is good for God’s people to celebrate. That’s one of the reasons the Jewish calendar is based upon a cycle of feasts and celebrations. There are dozens of them each year, big and small, twenty-eight of which are national holidays in the state of Israel. (Those people are serious about their celebrating!)
In Nehemiah 8:10 Nehemiah instructed the people to hold a day of celebration and feasting. They needed to do this because “the joy of the Lord is your strength”. Joy and fun are important parts of celebration because they lift our spirits. Celebration takes our minds off of the cares of life and helps us to simply relax as we enjoy good food and good company.
Setting aside special times for joyful celebration was God’s idea, and it is good for us.
Christmas is such a time. In this case the focus of the joyful celebration is the birth of Christ, and it includes gathering with family and friends, feasting with good food and music, and exchanging gifts. All of it done as a means of celebrating what God has done for us by sending His Son to earth to live among us and to save us from our sins. That certainly merits a good celebration.
It might seem strange that God would be pleased and even honored by a good Christmas party. But if the joy and celebration, the feasting and the gift-giving, the singing and the laughing, is all done for the right reason (in honor of Jesus), then God is pleased.
So party hardy my friends. Enjoy the parties, the feasting, and the gift-giving because it is good for God’s people to celebrate. Just keep the focus where it’s supposed to be (on Jesus), and then enjoy yourself.