David declared, “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
As far back as I can remember I have loved a celebration. I am made fun of in my family for my “birthday month” celebration style. I tend to also overly produce any reason to celebrate. I throw parties for the first day of school year, for my dogs’ birthdays, and any other imaginable party possibility. The core of my being loves to gather the people I love most, and enjoy being together with food and a memorable occasion. It seems innate in me. This upcoming Easter weekend I have my own little birthday bundle of joy to celebrate too as she turns two. This is not irony, but double the reason to celebrate my greatest earthly blessing and my greatest eternal blessing all in one weekend. Overwhelming joy!
But as honest as this is, I have to also admit that I celebrate the things that seem to be something worth celebrating- milestones, job promotions, and all things happy. However, I have recently been challenged in my thinking on celebration. If I believe in God the way that I say I do, if I have the faith that I believe I have, why am I not celebrating in the midst of the hard things too? I should celebrate in the moments that seem counter-intuitive if I have the faith that God can move mountains. Would I celebrate a cancer diagnosis, a death, because in these moments God has already claimed victory? I haven’t ever done that before, honestly. But here I am, at a cross-roads in my party planning. I want to be a woman that plans a tribulation celebration. I want to see God in the midst of my suffering. I want to claim that He has overcome even when I don’t see the end in sight. Let us remember, He has indeed overcome, and that’s why we celebrate Easter.
In my current season of life I have recently lost the thing that my heart longs for most. At every turn I have sweet and well-intentioned people praying and hoping for my rainbow baby. But will I celebrate before we see or hold this baby? What if there is no rainbow baby from my womb? Will I wait to celebrate? Today I stand on His promises and say, no, I am not waiting. I am going to celebrate His goodness even on the days when it’s hard to see it. I will celebrate His victory today.
Celebration is a spiritual discipline that marks moments in our lives in the larger framework of God’s presence and purpose. As Christians we need to challenge ourselves in the practice of celebrating the happy, mundane, and challenging moments too. Daily celebration gives space for acknowleding God’s blessings and great anticipation for our future hope in Him. Let us count ourselves as wise Christ-followers consistently acknowledging the Lord’s gifts- in sum, don’t wait to celebrate!
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14