Happy Feast of Purim!

Well, not really.  But did you ever notice some of the similarities between the Jewish Feast of Purim and Christmas?  From Esther chapter 9:

20 And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far,
21 To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,
22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.
23 And the Jews undertook to do as they had begun, and as Mordecai had written unto them;

27 The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year;
28 And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.

God never commanded His people to keep the Feast of Purim.  It was something they had already undertaken to do (verse 23) before there was ever a command, and when the command came, it was from a government official (Mordecai), not a prophet of the Lord. The feast had been adopted as a tradition by the Jews before it was ever mentioned in Scripture.  It was a time of feasting, joy, giving of gifts, and remembering the poor, in commemorating a great deliverance from Almighty God.

Sounds sort of like Christmas, in some ways, doesn’t it?  Christmas certainly was never commanded by God, but is a tradition which God’s people have adopted in commemorating His great deliverance in sending His Son, and many of the traditions which have arisen around the day are similar to the ways the Jews observed Purim. Christmas isn’t Purim, but the similarities are interesting.

Of course, the Feast of Purim was two days.  I’ll have to let my employer know that Boxing Day is sort of, kind of, almost maybe Biblical, and ask for the extra day off. 🙂

May the Lord give you a blessed day remembering the incarnation of Christ.

Our God contracted to a span
Incomprehensibly made man!

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
This entry was posted in The Christian and Culture and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Happy Feast of Purim!

  1. Cyndy Veysey says:

    Very well written! thank you.

  2. Sherry says:

    Apples to Oranges…God never set up the pagan religious system nor has He redeemed it. Celebrating Christ’s birth isn’t the issue for most of us. It is the “christianizing” of paganism that’s the issue and there are several Scriptures to tell us that God considers it an abomination to practice paganism in worship of Him. Why are Christians bringing in the tree except that they have to give this pagan rite a some christianized meaning? Do you see any Jewish paganism practiced in Purim? Maybe. But if you do, I can assure you that God will detest its celebration, too.

    I’ll stick with the Early Church Fathers and the Apostolic way of celebrating Christ’s birth-in oft-given gratitude for the Father’s most treasured gift of His Son as our Holy Lamb of sacrifice.

  3. CC says:

    As per the Bible Adar is the last month of the year and the month in which the jews were commanded to celebrate Purim. That is the 14th and 15th of December. …sounds like Christians used Purim as a pattern for celebrating the birth of Christ.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, CC. Your comment got stuck in moderation while the blog was dormant. I apologise for that, but we’re back in action now.

      Adar is the twelfth month of the Jewish year, but the Jewish year starts in the Spring. So the 14th and 15th month of Adar is typically going to fall around March. That is not to say that Purim may not have had some influence but I doubt there is much direct linkage. There are some interesting parallels, though, aren’t there?

  4. CC says:

    ….also, we were never commanded by God to celebrate our birthday but most of us do. I believe Jesus is more honorable than any of us. He deserves the best birthday party ever!!! We love Him! We celebrate those we love.
    Like the Jews were delivered from their enemy in Haman and his crew; Jesus came to earth to deliver us from ALL our enemies. He did a full and complete work on the cross at Calvary. To Him be all the glory! Amen.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Any true believer, even those who don’t celebrate Christmas, must agree with the fact that we should honour Jesus Christ above all others! And it would be good if all would acknowledge that you are ‘regarding the day unto the Lord’ and that the desire to honour Him is commendable!

  5. Justin Digney says:

    Hi Jon,
    In Australia (and I believe most commonwealth countries like the 4 nations of Great Brittan), have a public Holiday for Christmas (25th) and Boxing day (26th), though in Australia the 26th in more celebrated for sporting events such as cricket athletics etc).

    I googled boxing day, at the first few answered refered to giving gifts to the poor, and certainly here in Australia almost everyone goes to great trouble (and often expense, often travelling thousands of kilometers/miles ) to share a meal with family on Christmas day.

    It is easy for me to feel some level of shame and disgust about the comervialisation of Christmas, but if that same commercialisation was turned around to bearing consideration and gifts for the poor & needy, it would be a true gift to express our love to our neighbours.

    I was so taken by Ester 9:21-22, I felt moved to re-interperete tbe words slightly
    “Celebrate anually when the Jews (Mankind) got relief from (defeated) their enemy (death).

    “Observe the (two) days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.” (Christmas & Boxing Day).

    Indeed presents (gifts) are often in boxes and wrapped, this would make sense to call this day boxing day.

    In the context of ‘defeating death’, we identify Jesus’ death on the cross.
    Indeed that moment the sun re-emerged after the sky had darkened, signified God’s acceptance of Jesus Sacrifice.

    But with the words, “for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, so whomever believes in him, shall not die but have eternal life”.
    These words indicates that we were possibly saved when Mary ‘believed’ she concieved the child of God (the Messiah)? As God knows the end, at the begining.

    I have personally found Easter to be the rememberance of Christs death (sacrifice for our sins), and not so a celebration of victory over evil/death.
    Where the celebration of Purim/Christmas certainly is/ought to be.

    God Bless.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hello, Justin. I certainly don’t believe that we were “possibly saved when Mary ‘believed’ she conceived.” But in a sense, yes, our salvation was known and declared by God, not merely then, but from before the foundation of the world.

      I certainly believe that Easter / Resurrection Sunday is a remembrance of both Christ’s death AND a celebration of victory. I don’t see how we can really separate the two.

      I do believe that when we remember the birth of Christ, we are celebrating His death, burial, and resurrection as well. As the angels said to the shepherds, “Unto you is born this day… a Saviour, Christ the Lord.”

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