“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” John 15:11 NLT
“but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10 NLT
Celebration makes us Strong
And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)
Richard Foster – Without Joy, disciplines become dull, death-breathing tools in the hands of the modern Pharisees.
The answer is Obedience
““That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25 NLT
Benefits of Celebration
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Psalms 139:14 NLT
- While we don’t actively seek the benefits of celebration… there will inevitably be wonderful out-flowings and results of celebrating Christ!
- The most important benefit of celebration is that it keeps us from taking ourselves to seriously. It helps us laugh at ourselves!
- Celebration can be a great antidote for sadness, depression, oppression, focusing on self, self-esteem, and self-defined / aspired / focused self-worth.
- Celebration gives us perspective on the world, our context, and the beauty of Christ.
- Celebration allows us to be released from being arrogant or thinking we are important… in doing so, it also frees us from being judgmental of others.
- One of the beauties of celebration is that it is a self-fulfilling loop… celebration creates celebration, laughter fuels laughter, joy begets joy… it is self-multiplying!
- Jesus rejoiced and celebrated in life so much that people thought he was a drunk and glutton (though he obviously wasn’t).
How to Practice Celebration
- Singing, dancing, shouting … let celebration erupt from your bones!
- LAUGH – We need to laugh more in life and be overcome with laughter at wholesome good comedy. This is an important discipline to master!
- Indulge in the unique aspect of humanity (created in God’s image) that is CREATIVITY and IMAGINATION! Draw, sculpt, create art, create music, enjoy the beauty of colors on a canvas or in nature, make plays with your family, act, write poetry / short stories… use your imagination for other examples!
- Enjoy the creativity of others.
- Make family and friend events into times of Christ-centered celebration and thanksgiving. Many families come together many times in the course of a year birthdays, marriages, graduations, holidays, church events, anniversaries, etc. Be intentional with familial intimacy.
- Celebrate big and “minor” events, like finishing a project, doing a good presentation, success at work or home, etc.
- Take advantage of festivals in your culture and community. Redeem the commercialism of many holidays and celebrations like Easter and Halloween. Take Christ into secular festivals.
- Serve and worship with your church family and immediate family.
John Ortberg suggested the idea of setting aside one day every week to celebrate. Here’s what he said: “One day a week devote a specific day to acts of celebration: eat foods you love, listen to music that moves your soul, play a sport that stretches and challenges you, read books that refresh your spirit, wear clothes that make you happy, surround yourself with beauty and give thanks to God for his wonderful goodness. Take time to experience and savor joy, then direct your heart to God so that you come to know He is the giver of every good and perfect gift.”
- What keeps you from celebrating God? What are you afraid of?
- When are you so excited about God that you just can’t contain yourself? If this never happens… perhaps you should explore why.
- How can you grow in your celebration of God?
- What are some unique ways your family can practice celebration?
- How can you simply laugh more in life!?
- How can you be more discipline in holding captive spirits of criticism and bitterness?