-Rev Sarah Renfro-
In every province and in every town—wherever the king's order and his law arrived—for the Jews it was a day of happiness and joy. For them it meant feasts and a holiday. Many people in the land became Jews themselves, out of fear of the Jews.
Esther 8:17 CEB
Birthdays and holidays are so much more fun when there’s a young person to help blow out the candles, unwrap the presents, delight in the balloons and boxes. A four-year-old does not know that her presence causes others to smile more broadly, laugh more easily, act more comically. But it does. There is an unbridled, untamed, and unabashed joy that seems to exude from the pores of a glowing child in the midst of celebration. And it is contagious
Esther did not know that she would be the one to usher in the salvation of her people, but still she showed up. Exuding beauty and grace, hiding her background and fear, she begged for mercy from the king that the Jews be saved from slaughter. And it worked!
Her willingness to be part of something beyond herself led to the protection of her people. And they were filled with joy! Of course they were! Although God is mentioned nowhere in the book of Esther, the Feast of Purim celebrates a saving act that could only be considered Divine.
One need not name God in order to feel the Spirit that radiates from those who shout with joy, dance with joy, eat and drink with JOY! In feasting with family and friends, we are able to know true delight, putting aside pretense in place of being present with one another and God.
Perhaps, Esther, in preparation of meeting with the king, pretended to be a child, who has no inhibitions and whose beauty shines from within. And in response, her people were infected with a hunger and thirst for gratitude.
When people are able to be themselves, be free from fear, they live in joy. And it spreads like the Spirit, infusing each bite of cake and taste of life with a smile.
May each of us “catch” the joy of a life lived in thanksgiving and share the Spirit with all those we meet.
God, we don’t even need to know your name in order to experience the joy of being in your presence. Make our laughter infectious, our gratitude contagious, and the taste of life delicious, like that of a child at a party. Amen
Rev Sarah Renfro is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Geist Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Fishers, Indiana. Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Sarah formerly modeled internationally, was ordained into ministry in 2010, is married to Rev. Kyle Brown, mother to Miriam, March Madness fanatic (Go Big Blue!), and writer at m-bodied.com. Her ministry includes leading body image workshops and preaching on embodiment and faith.