By on July 1, 2012

By Margaret-Ann Howie –

“Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land…
It shall be a jubilee for you. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you.” Leviticus 25:10-11

Scripture tell us that in the fiftieth year, God commanded that each person was to return to his family property: the land was not to be harvested; indentured servants and their children were to be released. On God’s calendar, the jubilee year was a time for celebration, restoration to wholeness, rest, and release.

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2012 is my year of jubilee. I will turn the magic age of 50, and I have chosen to renew myself and my relationships. I have chosen to liberate myself by celebrating the life I have.

I will renew myself. I will explore the world around me. I’m learning calligraphy and Portuguese—just because. I will take better care of the body I’m in—it won’t be replaced. I will not be afraid to say I’m tired, to take the occasional nap, or to ask for more time to complete a project. I will be impatient with life’s trivialities, with those things that don’t matter to eternity but I will teach myself to be patient with others.

I will renew my relationships. My elders will not be with me forever, and my young nieces and nephews will need guidance in their formative years. I will take time to speak with them about what is significant. I will take time to listen. More importantly, just as the ancient Israelites allowed bondspeople to go free, I will release those who have hurt me or harmed me.

I will liberate myself by celebrating the life I have. Too often we allow our mistakes and missteps to prevent us from living with joy. We are not free to accept who we are, warts and all. I’m not perfect—will never be perfect–but I am created to live in His perfect freedom. I will celebrate life by liberating others to love me. As a single woman, I have learned to do things for myself. I find it difficult to depend on others, particularly when my own methods seem so much more efficient! I will liberate my own ego to be able to accept the gifts others wish to give to me. I will give the gift of myself to others. I will not be set free at the expense of others—I will be set free in order to celebrate others.

My great great grandmother was born into slavery. On cold winter’s nights, she would have to sleep with the cattle to keep warm. She was only given one pair of shoes a year, and they would be threadbare by the time winter’s chill descended. The warmth of those cattle helped her survive each winter.

As long as she lived, she remembered the cold nights, and gave thanks for her freedom. In my year of jubilee, I will do the same. I will live with the knowledge that I do not have to return to slavery and that this freedom—earned after fifty years of toil–will not be taken away.

Happy jubilee!


Margaret-Ann Howie is a seventh-generation Marylander who is proud to call Baltimore her home. She attends the New Psalmist Baptist Church, where she serves as a deaconess. Margaret-Ann received her law degree from Columbia University and her undergraduate education from The Johns Hopkins University. Following a year at the Université de Paris (Nanterre), she was awarded a Master of Arts degree from Middlebury College. In 2008, she received her Master of Arts in Theology from the Ecumenical Institute of St. Mary’s Seminary and University, where she was the recipient of the 2008 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theological Studies. Margaret-Ann is a member of the Network of Biblical Storytellers (NBS), and graduated from its Academy in 2010. Margaret-Ann is an NBS-certified biblical storyteller, conference speaker, workshop presenter and author. She has led retreats, conferences and workshops for women, youth, single adults, church leaders and business persons. Her first devotional, a book of encouragement for single adults entitled Single Supplement: Paying the Price and Enjoying the Journey, is available from CrossBooks Publishing.

About Margaret-Ann Howie

Margaret-Ann Howie is a certified biblical storyteller, conference speaker, workshop presenter and author. She resides in Baltimore, where she serves as a deaconess at the New Psalmist Baptist Church. You can keep up with Margaret-Ann at www.wordsoffire.com/flames-blog.html

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