And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep." For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, "Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, "Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved." And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.What immediately springs to mind while reading this would be Christmas coming tomorrow; a special day we set aside to celebrate and remember the birth of our Christ, our Savior.
Then was a day of celebration that once again the Law was being read before the people, that they were truly and finally reunited within Jerusalem and rebuilding, on their way to being a people fully restored. At first they seem to weep with grief and condemnation, to finally hear the Law and know of their shortcomings, their sinfulness, but Nehemiah, Ezra and the Levites said their should be no weeping. They declared that the day was holy, sacred, set apart "to the Lord your God". They were to celebrate this day, take pleasure and enjoy the delightful gifts of the Lord. They were not to be sad, the joy of the Lord was their strength as today that same joy is also ours!
They celebrated the rebirth of Israel, we celebrate the birth of our king!
As every Christmas I must guard myself from being swept up in the joy of celebration and forgetting the joy of the reason for our celebration, but as a special application to take away from this verse I want to 'set my hands to the good work' of giving our team here in El Salvador a very merry Christmas.
We can't really go out and hit a store whenever we please, and even if we could I don't have the money to get much for everyone anyway; but I am able to make fruit compotes, and thinking about it there was some non-Jello-brand gelatin Karen had bought once just encase a special occasion arose. I don't know exactly how much time there'll be tomorrow because we might be going out with Pastor Alejandro and the boys from San Martin for their Christmas outing, and we know at 3 o'clock a family we became friends with at the church will be coming to the property and sharing a Christmas dinner with us, so I'll likely need to prepare some things, if not everything tonight. The only tricky thing is that our fridge is broken, although there might be space in the freezer for storage. . . I'll need to think about this and get a definite plan of action down soon so that everything goes smoothly, but I want to give our team the best San Martin Christmas they'll have, and really want to give Oswaldo's family something back for joining us this Christmas and for everything they've done to make us feel welcome here in their church and in their country.
P.S. The custom in El Salvador is to have dinner at midnight on Christmas eve/Christmas morning, and Pastor Alejandro invited us to eat with the boys! Hip-hip-hooray! :D
Today I'd like to share two studies of Margaret DeStefano from 1 Corinthians on spiritual gifts, these from around the same time my Nehemiah 8:9-12 study was written. The Fruit of Proper Balance, Glorifying and Enjoying God.
[And with that I realize my attempt to slowly catch up this blog with my current studies has come to naught. I'll be posting multiple studies at a time from now on since I haven't been able to manage a one-a-day schedule withh posting.]
that He brings
what He wants
for the reasons
He wants it.