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Purim: the Festival of Lots
Purim (Hebrew: פּוּרִים “Lots”), also known as the Festival of Lots, is the annual Jewish festival that commemorates the miraculous saving of the Jewish people from Haman’s genocidal plot to exterminate the Jews in the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar, and on the 15th of Adar in Jerusalem and all ancient walled cities. This year Purim will be celebrated from the evening of February 25, 2021 to the evening of February 26, 2021.
The origin of Purim is described in the Book of Esther, in which the Jews, threatened with genocide by Haman, the viceroy to Emperor Ahasuerus of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, are saved by the pious actions of Esther and Mordecai. Together with all the Jews of Shushan, they prayed and fasted for salvation from Haman’s plot. It began with Esther being made the new queen, and ended with Mordecai being appointed the new viceroy. After which he instituted the annual commemoration of the deliverance of the Jewish people from annihilation, known as Purim, that is celebrated by Jews around the world to this day.
Purim is celebrated by feasting and gladness, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor. As Christians we can follow the examples set my Mordecai, Esther, and all the Jews of Shushan. Mordecai was a faithful and prayerful servant of God and his government. Esther was a shining example of courage and overcoming adversity. And all the Jews of Shushan, by their prayer and fasting, remind us of the power of humility and the miraculous results of faith.