There’s nothing like a good party. We had Christmas caroling parties for the girls, including D.Y.I. tree ornaments, stringing popcorn, games, and of course, singing around the neighborhood. One activity had to do with picking up a nickel out of a mound of flour—with your teeth. It turned into a riotous flour fight in my front room, (I loved it, but found flour in the floor boards for years.)
There is just something about celebration that draws people; good stuff is happening and they want to be a part of it. As a bit of an introvert, even I know that exuberant celebration is good for the soul and can encourage and inspire us to even greater things.
And if anyone knew how to party, is was God’s people.
Backstory: The family of God was in disarray. Israel and Judah were split kingdoms. Pagans shrines were everywhere and the people of God couldn’t be distinguished from anyone else. Judah’s king, Hezekiah, is trying to reinstitute the beautiful ceremony of Passover and bring the people back into connection with their Creator. However, many of the priests, Levites, and people in general felt ashamed since they had not done what they were supposed to do to participate in this holy ceremony.
But, you know, shame isn’t always a bad thing, IF it causes us to turn in the right direction, which this time, it did. And here’s the important part—those who were in on the action helped out those who were wanting and willing to be, but weren’t quite there yet. Check this out:
“Since many of the people had not purified themselves, the Levites had to slaughter their Passover lamb for them, to set them apart for the Lord.”
“Most of those who came from [Israel] had not purified themselves. But King Hezekiah prayed for them, and they were allowed to eat the Passover meal anyway…”
“Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.” (Oh wait, that’s from the New Testament…fancy that!)
The party last seven days. (Whew! With all the bulls and goats and sheep sacrificed, not to forget that huge influx of people into the town, can you imagine the clean up crew? And THAT’S before port-o-potties and toilet paper…okay, off topic.)
They were having so much fun being with God that they decided to go for an additional seven days! FOURTEEN days!
The people of God should know how to party like no one else on the planet. But here’s what that celebration actually accomplished:
“Meanwhile, many more priests purified themselves…and [the people] smashed all the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and removed the pagan shrines and altars.”
Of course, there comes a time when the party is, indeed, over, time to go back to work, family responsibilities, even some of the problems (oh alright, ‘challenges’) we left behind.
“After this, the Israelites returned to their own towns and homes.”
But you can bet they didn’t return home as the same people that first arrived. Celebrating with God’s family causes change. Yes, it gets messy sometimes, and there may even be a little clean up involved, but it’s worth it.
Besides, what’s a little flour compared to all that fun?
2 Chronicles 30 and 31; Romans 15:8 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.