This is a new holiday for us. It's like a gift from God to me so I wanted to share the story.
Some of you have been following us long enough to know we don't celebrate Christmas anymore. You can read about that on our post about why we don't if you are interested. Well, when we stopped celebrating Christmas, Roger and I really wanted to still give our children gifts, so we looked for how we could do that still. We came up with Hanukkah. For 8 nights, we gave our children gifts every night. We read about the Maccabees and love the story. It is so inspiring to read about how devoted they were to God and following His ways. If all Christians were that devoted to God, I believe the world would be very different. Anyway, that's not the point of this post.
So after a few years of celebrating Hanukkah, in 2009 at the end of the feast I woke up feeling God was clearly telling me we had now added Mammon (demon of riches and avarice) to Hanukkah. I knew He was right, but I didn't like it. Roger and I discussed it and agreed we would still do birthday gifts (God hasn't spoken anything to us about this being wrong so if someone has something to say about it, just shhhh. I don't want to hear.) but not Hanukkah gifts. But we love the Holiday so we kept that.
During Hanukkah this last year, we still remembered the Maccabees and celebrated their bravery in a much quieter way (no gifts--which really had nothing to do with Hanukkah anyway). We still enjoyed it. The eighth morning I was thinking to myself how awesome it was that not one child complained or seemed to feel a bit slighted that we didn't do gifts. We talked about it together just before we read the Bible that morning and the kids agreed that they didn't feel they'd missed out on anything.
We'd been reading through Esther. If you've never read it, or haven't in a while, I encourage you to read it. It's a good story. Or watch One Night With A King if you are more into movies. That morning we just happened to be near the end of the book--chapter 9. As we finished our reading we read this:
"But the Jews who were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day, as well as the fourteenth; and on the fifteenth of the month they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. Therefore the Jews of the villages who dwelt in the unwalled towns celebrated the fourteenth day of the month of Adar with gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and for sending presents to one another." Esther 9:18-19
Did you catch those last few words? We were so excited! It's been there all along, but what an awesome Father to show it to me so clearly right after we obeyed Him and refrained from giving gifts at a time He'd told us not to!
So the 14th of Adar begins at sunset this evening. We will be celebrating with gladness and feasting and giving each other gifts. I'm sure we aren't doing any of the traditional celebrating that the Jews do because we don't even know what they do. But all it says is gladness and feasting and sending presents and we can do that!