I packed up the last of the very few Christmas decorations in our home yesterday and now all that is left from the holidays is a pile of candy canes that I will bribe my daughter with. She came into the kitchen today sniffing the air and asking what that smell was she was smelling. I couldn’t smell anything but she claimed it was candy cane smell and therefore she should probably eat one. I am quite pleased that I have found something to motivate her with.
It is a bit of a let down to say goodbye to the holidays and all the wonder and prettiness, so here at A Little Light we have decided to keep eating our candy canes and introduce the theme of CELEBRATION for the rest of the month.
Celebration is a practice that is an essential part of the Christian life. Phillipians 4:4 says “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”. Gratitude, joy, and celebration are ours to have in this life lived for God. An unchanging God loves us and is at work in our life and spending time seeing the good He gives us will inspire celebration.
Life does not always feel happy though does it? Hardship, stresses, anxiety and the mundane are heavy companions to life. Finding the heart of celebration means trusting God’s heart for us. Richard Foster encourages believers in his book The Celebration of Discipline to “fill our lives with simple good things and constantly thank God for them” and there we will find joy to be celebrated. The simple things of life are leaking out God’s love for us. Once we start looking and seeing these simple good things we are going to start seeing a flood of them.
To move towards sincere celebration we have to move away from anxiety, fear, and worry and trust God’s wisdom, sovereignty and power. Phillipians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayers and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” It sounds unbelievable to think that there is nothing to be anxious about, that we can take EVERYTHING to a God who is able and willing to do what is best for us. But there it is, in the Bible, a part of the God who we believe in.
Moving from being skeptical about God to trusting that He is who He says He is, can be a slow process in this human heart and mind. It is a daily discipline that will lead us to sincere celebration. Trusting God’s ability to provide and care for those things will nurture our hearts toward joy, and “the joy of the Lord is our strength!” Nehemiah 8:10. Celebration is an acknowledgment of the daily transformation of our hearts by God.
A wonderful thing about celebration is that it is meant to be shared with one another! Community and celebration go hand in hand. When one is having difficulty celebrating in their own life there is something in another person’s life to celebrate. Celebration helps us fill our hearts and minds with good things, worthy of praise (Phil 4:8) and remind us of God’s love for us.
“Purposeful celebration will temporarily lift our burdens, connect us to each other and God and hopefully in the long term, help to transform us into grateful men and women.”-Dorothy Greco, Celebration is a Spiritual Discipline
We can’t wait to celebrate God’s love with our community here. Next week we are going to introduce a weekly practice to encourage us as a community in the discipline of celebration. It’s going to be a lot of fun and a great way to collectively celebrate. In the meantime toss around these questions: What keeps you from celebration? What things do you need to trust God with so you can celebrate more?