Why Celebration Is Critical for Christians

Often when we gather to reflect on each of our stories, the hard and difficult parts rise to the surface as we courageously connect with one another. These moments and pieces of our story are vital and important and never wasted in Jesus' hands. However, in the midst of our difficulty, joy is available. Sacred Stories is about gathering to cultivate honest, intimate community by sharing our unique stories-both the good and the bad. Today's story is all about the good :)

Recently, my husband and I sat down to identify some "core values" for our family. After a crazy year, we decided it was time to refocus and determine where we were headed as a couple and where we wanted our family to end up. One of the core values that rose to the surface was Celebration. I think this value popped up for a number of reasons:



 1. We will use just about any excuse to eat just about any variation of cake. Brownie cake, ice cream cake, carrot cake, birthday cake, cookie cake, cheesecake- ALL APPROVED.
 2. As the "firsts" of marriage have worn off, there have been less overtly exciting things or occasions to celebrate and we miss it
3. We inherently know that gratitude is critical to joy and celebration is an expression of gratitude
4. I missed my calling as an event planner (seriously. dream job.) and will embrace every party planning opportunity.

For the sake of helpfulness, we will focus this story on number 3 ;).





Life can be hard and arduous. When you read that, you may think of a specific season or time in your life or perhaps you may think of the daily challenges that life can bring us. Whether the especially difficult or the mundane come to mind, it's still true that it's easy to get caught up in the obstacles we face.

As Christians, however, we have the opportunity to be wearing different glasses. Scripture repeatedly speaks of thankfulness and gratitude as the road to joy. Everything we have and experience is a gift from God because nothing is wasted by Him. When we begin to embrace this truth, we begin to see life in a different light. We find ourselves noticing more gifts and experiencing more joy. Suddenly, there are many opportunities for celebration!



All throughout both the Old and New Testament, we see believers making the choice to see life differently. The Old Testament holds numerous examples of celebration. Israel obeyed the commands of God to celebrate various festivals, each marking a remembrance of something incredible God had done. David danced and worshiped and celebrated as God worked and moved in and through him. In the New Testament, those surrounding the birth of Jesus celebrated his arrival with songs and gifts. Jesus modeled the Lords Supper and Baptism, both as remembrance and celebration. Revelation speaks of a celebration with the Church and Christ-like we cannot begin to fathom! 

These scriptural examples of celebrations held an important purpose: to refocus believers on God and His faithfulness and to spark joy in their hearts! As they remembered or acknowledged something God had done, their gratitude birthed joy and encouraged a renewed spirit and relationship with the God they loved. In the midst of the often difficult and sometimes mundane lives we live, the discipline of celebration can bring so much life! 


Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, wrote: 

"Celebration is central to all the Spiritual Disciplines. Without a joyful spirit of festivity, the Disciplines become dull, death-breathing tools in the hands of modern Pharisees."

Celebration is life giving to us as believers. It pushes us to look for and acknowledge the work God is doing and inspires motivation and perseverance to keep seeking the God who gives good gifts. Without it, much of our spiritual life can become about working and achieving in our own power. Celebration reminds us who is truly the source.


For our family, this means making a big deal about birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, new jobs and special accomplishments. These events and dates point to the faithfulness of God to sustain, lead and provide and give us clear opportunities to celebrate! These require little extra effort to notice because they are laid out so plainly for us to see. Take advantage of these opportunities. It doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate: a simple toast at dinner, a balloon and a card, special ice cream flavor for dessert or having a few friends over for a celebratory cup of coffee can make these types of occasions extra special! (Bonus: anytime we invite others to come along side us in celebration of what God has done? Really powerful stuff. Gather your people together and share your joys and victories. Parties are more fun when your favorites are there to celebrate with you!)

In addition to the big obvious ones, Celebration as a core value looks like noticing smaller, less obvious things to celebrate. Friendship is something we are seeking to celebrate and give thanks for more often so spending time with those we love in simple, accessible ways is a great option. We also are working to share more of our small, daily victories like completing a project, an answer to prayer, or a random act of kindness we were the beneficiary of. Sometimes when life is particularly trying, simply celebrating that we have one another or that we made it to Friday without any major meltdowns with an extra TV show or a quick dinner out is critical to our joy.



Celebration can be big and flashy or small and simple. I'm a fan of both and both serve their purpose: to inspire gratitude for God and all He's done and bring joy to our hearts as we continue to follow Him. We will face many trials but He is so good to us, friends. Thank Him and celebrate it! 

What can you celebrate today and how are you going to celebrate it? Tell me in the comments!



3 comments

  1. This was so encouraging to read, Courtney! Love your relatable writing style - so down-to-earth, yet still eloquent! Beautiful. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Summer! As a new writer, these kind of comments are so encouraging and my heart for this post was to bring some joy!

    ReplyDelete
  3. AMEN to celebrating the small stuff--also you know I love that OT reference there. Can it always be a year-of-Jubilee-level fresh start/celebration?! :)

    ReplyDelete