These people were ready to get on with God’s plan, but first they stopped to celebrate a step in the right direction
And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.” (Ezra 3:11)
Military homecomings are often a remarkable sight. Flags, banners, yellow ribbons, a military band, and families with eager expressions all combine for a celebration getting ready to happen. As I type these words, I recall the anticipation I felt as I stood in a hanger and caught sight of a plane landing in the distance. I waited with other family members as the group of soldiers deplaned, lined in formation, and marched into the hanger. I craned my neck to find my soldier among the uniformed many and rejoiced when the formation dismissed. Then it came: shrieks and shouts, hugs and kisses, tears and laughter, and a massive rush to reunite with the one I missed for so long. Let the homecoming celebration begin!
Some of the same emotion of a military homecoming celebration is reflected in the words of Ezra 3:11. The difference lies in the timeline of the celebration. This celebration took place months after their reintegration back to Jerusalem, not at the point of their return. Although they had been home for some time, the people still faced months of work to fully reestablish the temple. Even so, they stopped and celebrated a major step – the foundation being laid – before they went any further.
As the Jewish people realized the significance of their progress, they began singing the same song used at the dedication of the first temple of Solomon’s day.1 Ecstatic, they gave a great shout in gratitude for what God had done, was doing, and would continue to do for their nation.2 These people were ready to get on with God’s plan, but first they stopped to celebrate a step in the right direction.
Sisters, reestablishing family norms after a deployment can take a long time. Take a lesson from the folks in Ezra and celebrate small accomplishments—even the first step toward the goal.
What is something you could do to mark and celebrate a step in the right direction after your husband returns from deployment? What positive results can come from such a celebration?
Prayer for the Journey
Father, help our family to practice celebrating small steps in the right direction. Make us aware of the moments that may seem small, but are actually great strides forward. Give us creativity as we work together to build family memories. Amen.
1 2 Chronicles 5:13
2 Catherine Clark Kroeger and Mary J. Evans, editors, The IVP Women’s Bible Commentary (Downers Grove, ILL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 249.