Celebrating the things that are joyful, happy and good are one of the easiest and most natural ways we celebrate. Actually, it is probably the only form of celebrating to which we are accustomed. These moments of “Yes!” and “Hooray!” are worthy of our celebration, and we shouldn’t minimize them as an act of humility. If you are excited about a good thing in your life, then by all means, do a happy dance! We need to lavishly celebrate our days, not reserving celebration for “the big one.”
The problem with “the big one”
Weddings, babies and new jobs are all life milestones, so of course when we think about celebrating, it is natural for those moments to be the time for it. But sometimes, we put our celebration hats on hold while we wait for the “big celebrations.” We put smaller celebrations (like performing well on a presentation or learning how to play guitar in a week) in a corner. If Patrick Swayze taught us anything, it’s that we don’t but baby in the corner! When we ignore smaller victories, we are suppressing a form of worship. Celebrating life is worship, and celebrating that life means celebrating all of it, not just those times we deem worthy of proper celebration.
Every good thing in our lives is a chance for us to remember what God has done and what he will do. One of the ways we can do that is my marking moments, events, and days as significant. We mark these times as significant by performing an act of remembering/celebrating. I mentioned some of the ways we can create opportunities for celebration on a previous post here.
Marked with Significance
The Israelites often marked moments for celebration. They witnessed what God had done and saw their response as an opportunity to give praise to God what He had given them. They did so by performing a ritual or creating a marker as a reminder to celebrate God’s presence in their lives.
After crossing the Jordan River in Joshua 4, we find the Lord telling Joshua that this is a moment that is to be celebrated, remembered, and marked for generations to come. Joshua chooses twelve men, who are tasked with going back into the Jordan to each bring back one rock. These rocks symbolized the twelve tribes of Israel. These rocks reminded the people of God’s faithfulness. They could look back at these rocks later and tell future generations about the great things God had done. Creating celebration markers, whether it is an item or a feast, allows us the opportunity to remember, praise, share stories, and give thanks to a God who is faithful, good, and full of grace.
Remember this day & celebrate with a feast
A great way to mark a celebration is through a shared feast. The connection between celebrating and feasting in community runs deep throughout the pages of our Bible. Our relationships are renewed each time we celebrate together. Times of celebrating together with feasting bring about a shared identity and purpose. We would never make an entire feast and then invite just ourselves. When a feast is being prepared, there is always a crowd. “The more the merrier” is our natural response. Even our church potlucks are proof that relationships are strengthened over a meal.
In the story of the first Passover mentioned in Exodus 12, we see the beginning of a great journey for the Israelites as they embarked on an adventure of freedom and the promised land. In celebration of what God had already done and in anticipation of what he would do, the Israelites prepared and celebrated the first Passover meal. This event marked a significant moment in their lives and the lives of future generations. The ritual of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) was born out of a desire to remember God’s faithfulness. In verse 14, the Lord says to the Israelites, “you are always to remember this day and celebrate it with a feast to the Lord.” Many times, the Israelites celebrated so that others would know about the faithfulness of their God and so that future generations wouldn’t lose hope. When we mark moments as significant by celebrating victories, we impact not only our lives but also the lives of future generations. Celebrating victories allows us a chance to connect to our God who loves us more than we can imagine. Remembering those victories through our celebration provides us with an opportunity to worship, to come together as the body of Christ and say “Thank you Jesus.” Celebrating, feasting, picking up rocks out of a river allow us to mark our days as significant whether we are got married, had a baby, or just learned how to bake a cake. There is much good to celebrate in the seconds of every day. We just have to open our eyes, our hearts and our time to it.
In the words of the great hymn:
Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.
Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.
The United Methodist Hymnal Number 400
Text: Robert Robinson, 1735-1790
Music: Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second
Tune: NETTLETON, Meter: 87.87 D
Chassity Neckers is a regular contributor to the Soul Care Collective.
Image attribution: ATINAT_FEI / Thinkstock