It is easy for us to assume that obedience and holiness are hushed and somber postures. The day of return was not about how bad the children had been; it was about how joyful the Father is when even one sinner repents.

A Holy Day is meant to be a Holiday. Do not spend your holidays weeping and moaning. Have a feast! Share your food with those who have none. Give gifts just because you can. Dance! Stop working and let your hair down.

It has always been God’s intention that we have Holy Days. We are most at home with God when we celebrate in a joyful way.

Celebration is the happy dance of a child with a new toy on Christmas morning.

Celebration is the joining kiss of bride and groom on their wedding day.

Celebration is being reunited with your favourite people after a long absence.

Celebration is storytelling, belly laughs and staying up past your bedtime because you just don’t want to sleep.

Celebration is honouring people not just for their accomplishments, but because of whom they are.

Celebration is worship; the happy heart of a grateful people.

The joy and celebration originates with the God who is joyful. It is God’s Joy that becomes our strength. I think that we are mostly joyless creatures after failures and hardship. And yet, we come alive in God’s presence.

I notice that celebration is not mindless. It is not a fake emotion that comes from a rock star leader telling everyone to ‘make some noise’. No, there is something in our mind when we celebrate.

Did you see it in verse 12?

Nehemiah 8:
12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.

Understanding God is the cause of great, great joy. The loving instruction of a wise Father is endearing—it changes us for the better. Understanding is the joy of finally solving a mystery or discovering the missing part.

It is the celebration of finding the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. God is the joyful finder who throws a party every time.

Hear the words of Jesus about celebration. We are like lost sheep being found.

Luke 15:
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

We are like a lost sum of money that is recovered.

Luke 15:
10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

We are prodigal children who have found their way home. And how does this make the Father feel?

Luke 15:
32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

Once you understand the things that bring joy to God, you will understand why Jesus came to save us.

You bring joy to God… You.

Happy holy days!