My Personal Year of Jubilee

Latin jūbilāre  to shout for joy


In the Bible (in Leviticus), 50 is the year of Jubilee. So, I am declaring this coming year, my 50th year of life, (May 27, 2011 to May 27, 2012) to be my personal “Year of Jubilee.”

I know I want this Year of Jubilee to be a turning point for me—a place to pause while I look over my past and look toward my future. I want this year to be something I can look back to and remind myself, “this is when I chose to follow Christ more fully, allowing Him to bring healing to broken places inside me and helping me walk into a more abundant life.” I want this to be the time when I begin to dance my way through life.

Getting ready for Sabbath or for a Jubilee year usually involved both cleaning out and making intentional preparations for those special times. In the past few years, life events have helped me start the process of cleaning out my closets, both physically and mentally. Crises such as my husband’s cancer fight and the unexpected death of one of our sons forced a reevaluation of values and faith. Going on the road for nine months in an RV followed by living in a mini-apartment with family for another nine months were significant forces in sorting through belongings and getting rid of large amounts of “stuff.” We have moved to another part of the country and have very different job responsibilities now. I am well on my way to getting rid of many, many things that I don’t need anymore, ranging from clothes to kids’ toys to books to responsibilities that drain me—physical baggage and emotional baggage alike.  Looking back, it seems to me that this cleaning out time has been good preparation for a Year of Celebration before entering the second half of my life.

The idea of a Year of Jubilee has existed throughout many cultures in many different time periods. Nuns have them. Queens have them. Hebrews have them. Many cultures and countries celebrate them every 49 or 50 years. These Years of Jubilee aren’t just about celebration; they also involve reflection, freedom, and forgiveness.

In ancient Israel, the Year of Jubilee was meant to be celebrated each fiftieth year. Although there is not clear evidence that this Jubilee year was ever actually celebrated by the Jewish People, it was supposed to be a time to restart healthy, balanced living; a time when all debts were cancelled, all possessions were returned to their original owners, and all slaves were given freedom.

As was done each Sabbatical Year, the Jewish people were also commanded to give complete rest to their land during the Jubilee Year. After years of toil and production, there was to be no sowing, reaping, and harvesting during this year of restoration.

It could be said that this Year of Jubilee was a year of restoration and a year of liberty. By observing this year, the people refocused on God and celebrated their faith in Him. It became a year for thanksgiving and joy in all that God continued to do in and for them.

I want this year to be a time of rest and restoration for myself as well. I want it to be a time to restart more healthy, balanced living. I want this to be a year to refocus on God and to celebrate all He has done in me, for me, and through me…


Jesus made it clear in his earliest public teaching appearance that He is the fulfillment of the biblical Jubilee for those who follow Him. He proclaimed “the year of the Lord’s favor.” He announced, “This is God’s year to act!”

When he stood up to read, he was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written, “God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free,  to announce, ‘This is God’s year to act!’”  He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, “You’ve just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place.”  (Luke 4:16-21, The Message)

 In declaring this to be my Year of Jubilee, it is a way of affirming that Jesus has put His Spirit on me, of asking Him to speak through me to the poor around me, and of asking Him to include me as He gives freedom to prisoners, sight to blinded ones, and release to the burdened and oppressed. This is my way of asking Jesus to make this declaration true in my life this year!


Another name for this year is to call it my “Golden Jubilee.” Traditionally, such a celebration is held in the 50th year of a monarch’s reign. In calling this my Golden Jubilee, I want to make it clear I am celebrating being held in God’s hands for the past 50 years. I want to look back and reflect on all that He has done in my life during His reign over me.

As shown in the subtitle above, jubilee comes from the Latin, meaning “shout of joy.” I want that to be a theme for this year. In addition, I like the dictionary definition of golden:




1. bright, metallic, or lustrous like gold: golden hair.

2. made or consisting of gold: golden earrings.

3. exceptionally valuable, advantageous, or fine: a golden opportunity.

4. having glowing vitality; radiant: golden youth.

5. full of happiness, prosperity, or vigor: golden hours; a golden era

6. highly talented and favored; destined for success: golden boy.

7. richly soft and smooth: a golden voice.

8. indicating the fiftieth event of a series: a golden wedding anniversary.


5. splendid, glorious, joyous.

As I declare this year to be my “Golden Jubilee,” I hope to find some of these characteristics in my own life, both as I reflect on the past and as I look toward the future. May my life shine and reflect God’s love and glory (like something “bright and metallic”). May my life be “exceptionally valuable” to those around me; and may I cling to God more closely as I realize His value to me. May this be a time of moving from youth into a “radiant, glowing vitality”; a life of health and balance, “full of happiness and vigor.” I already know that I am “highly talented and favored” by God… May this be a year that more of my rough edges are “smoothed” and may I become more “richly soft” in attitude and interactions with others. As I celebrate this “fiftieth year of my birth,” may it indeed be a year that is “splendid, glorious, and joyous!”

I recognize that all of this might seem overly filled with platitudes or appear overly pious. That is not my intent. To me, this year is a break, a pause between two different places in life. There is plenty of brokenness, wounding, and willful sinfulness in my past. And I’m sure there will be more pain, more wounding, and more sinfulness in my future. My purpose in this year is to take time to be intentional in both celebration and in seeking new abundance.

So…I declare this coming year to be  my own YEAR of JUBILEE.

Let the GOLDEN JUBILEE celebrations commence!


21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Saturday Interview 38 – Jill | project5o
  2. Rebeca
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 23:24:06

    This was beautifully written. I was looking how to spell Jubilee on Google and found this page. I believe 2013 is my year of Jubilee. I am not turning 50, but it is the year acceptable to the Lord, I surrender all of me to Him, and trust that He is in control. I prayed for you and hope that all is well with you and your family.


  3. Ann vanderaa
    Nov 17, 2013 @ 02:29:45

    Thank you for sharing your Jubilee thoughts. I’m sharing some of those thoughts with a friend’s celebration of her 50th year soon and found your words so timely and good and from our Lord Jesus. I’m 63 now but I pray that every year I live be a year of Jubliee!


    • jecolorfulheart
      Nov 17, 2013 @ 06:12:47

      I’m so glad my thoughts can be of encouragement to others! Wishing your friend a wonderful year…and love your joy in the age you are!


  4. Elena
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 17:26:12

    I was looking up year of jubilee to find out more about it because of the financial bind my husband and I are in due to poor choices, mid life crisis, and other circumstances. We have to live with our son and his wife, we just spent a year living with my brother and mother. We have relocated to a new state and I am so desperate for a glimpse of hope and a light at the end of this tunnel. My fear was that our choices will have us bound and unhappy for the rest of our lives and feeling like a pathetic failure. I am 52 years old. After praying and looking up year of jubilee I found this article. I believe it was an answer to my prayer. His Bless You for writing this. ❤


    • jecolorfulheart
      Dec 19, 2013 @ 22:54:03

      Elena–sometimes those lies about being a “failure” overwhelm God’s quiet voice and direction, don’t they? I loved the image of a year of jubilee—like pushing a “reset” button in life. Take time to look at your past, then look to your future and celebrate what God is going to do (and is already starting to do!) Blessings on you and your family…


  5. Barbara
    May 22, 2014 @ 20:09:38

    Your thoughts on the year of jubilee are so beautifully expressed. I am celebrating my 50th birthday this year and would like to share some of your thoughts on that day. Thank you for sharing how we should live and trust God!


    • jecolorfulheart
      May 23, 2014 @ 05:52:05

      Barbara–I’m glad my musings spoke to your heart. Best wishes as your turn 50! In the coming years, may God give you adventure and contentedness, new things to learn and a growing mastery of “old” things, and, above all, a heart filled with love!


  6. libby newnam
    Nov 16, 2014 @ 23:00:54

    So how was it? Did you write on how the year of Jubilee went for you? I’d be interested to hear.

    Thank you!


    • jecolorfulheart
      Apr 15, 2016 @ 08:59:15

      Hi Libby…the rest of this blog follows me through that year of jubilee. Take a peek! Almost 4 years later I am more consistent in making time to follow interests and pursue passions. Look for links to my art blog and my adventure blog on


  7. Yvonne saunders
    Jun 05, 2015 @ 19:52:06

    My nane is yvonne I am now experiancing big changes in my life ill be 50 gune 12 he has been healing me from the past as well as many other things feeling freer more ajd more each and every day .my freind told me to do a study on the year of juballie seeing this happening in my life look forword to what he has for me and the ministry he has for me god bless


    • jecolorfulheart
      Apr 15, 2016 @ 09:00:56

      Hi Yvonne! I trust that you have continued to grow and experience new freedoms as you move into your 2nd half of life!


  8. Lorienne
    Jul 10, 2015 @ 13:35:09

    Thank you. I just turned 49 yesterday (7/9/15) so my 50th year is underway. I appreciate your reflections on the definition of golden! I’d like to express some of these characteristics too, in this year. I am musing on what kind of slavery I am in and how to be free. How I can make this a year of mercy, sabbath, and liberty. Whom can I set free? And, I am especially struck by the etymology of the word: the joyful shout! So, I hope my life will be a visible and audible expression of joy thanks be to God!


    • jecolorfulheart
      Apr 15, 2016 @ 09:03:19

      Hi Lorienne!I confine to live the image of my life being a joyful shout! How has your own year of jubilee gone? What mercy, sabbath, and liberty have you found so far?


  9. Carol Schmidt
    Mar 22, 2016 @ 18:40:11

    Beautifully written – thank you for sharing!


  10. Brian Copley
    Apr 15, 2016 @ 08:45:59

    Thank you for letting the Holy Spirit put this message in your spirit. I turned 50 years old today. I had some time with the Lord this morning. Everything you have written, the Lord put in my heart as well. In fact, He had me look up 50 year birthday, and I found your site. When I began to read your message, I was in AWE! This is exactly what the Lord had been sharing with me, months prior to my birthday. In fact, He brought about some life changing events to start preparing me for the 2nd half of my life.

    Again, thank you so much. This has really helped me to put things perspective. The readers comments were the icing on the (birthday) cake!


    • jecolorfulheart
      Apr 15, 2016 @ 08:55:16

      Happy Birthday, Brian! May God richly blessing your 2nd half of life! I’m glad Good used my words and life experiences to encourage you in your journey…


  11. Wambui Ng'ang'a
    Mar 12, 2017 @ 14:20:39

    I turn 50 in a couple of days, March 16th 2017. Over the last few months, I have been contemplating on the significance of this age. I’m grateful to have come across this blog. Your article has immensely enlightened me on the meaning of Jubilee & I’m blessed. Looking back on what the Lord has been doing in my life & family in the recent past, I have no doubt that I have entered my Jūbilāre – shouting for Joy 🙏 Let the Jubilee Celebration begin 🎺📯🎷


    • jecolorfulheart
      Mar 12, 2017 @ 16:09:06

      Welcome! I’m so glad these words encourage you. I’m no longer actively adding to this blog….but am definitely continuing to grow and to become more free to really be ME!May God guide you through this Jubilee time in your life….and beyond.


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