“Man's chief end and duty is to love God and enjoy his company forever” - Westminster Catechism
Celebration is at the heart of Christ's method.
We are called to a perpetual celebration in the Spirit.
Freedom from anxiety and care forms the basis of celebration for us. Once we know that the Lord cares for us, we can cast our cares on him, because God has turned our crying into laughter.
This carefree spirit is rare in contemporary society. The modern human being has been so pressed “towards useful work and rational calculation that he has almost forgotten the joy of celebration…” according to Harvey Cox.
Celebration Gives Strength to Life
Celebration brings joy to life, and joy makes us strong. We cannot go on long in anything without joy. Without a spirit of festivity, spiritual disciplines become dull, death-breathing instruments in the hands of modern Pharisees.
Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). In this sense, joy is the engine, the element that keeps everything else going, it produces energy, it makes us strong. Therefore, we have to seek the path of joy in our lives.
The Path of Joy
In the spiritual realm, only one thing will produce authentic joy: obedience. Joy comes from obedience to Christ, and results from obedience to Christ. Without obedience, joy is hollow and artificial. Therefore, joy is in obedience.
When the power of Jesus enters into our work and play and redeems them, there will be joy where there was once mourning.
A popular teaching of our day instructs us to praise God for the various difficulties that occur in our lives, stating that there is great transforming power when we praise God. This teaching is a way to encourage you to go forward with eyes of faith with hope in your heart. To affirm in our hearts the joyful certainty that God takes all things and makes them work together for the good of those who love him. The Bible directs us to live in a constant spirit of thanksgiving to God in any situation; it does not guide us to celebrate the presence of evil.
The Carefree Spirit of Celebration
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or drink; nor by your body as to what you shall put on” - Matthew 6:25
Christians are called to live free from care, but this way seems strange to us. We have always been trained to take care of our lives. We constantly hear “Be careful with…”. We will only have the spirit of celebration in us when we learn to “not be anxious about anything”. When we trust God, we are free to depend entirely on Him for the things we need: “Be known to God…”. Prayer is the means by which we move the arm of God. But when we fill our lives with good, simple things, and constantly give thanks to God for them, we will know joy. When we determine to stick with the good and excellent things in life, our lives will be so filled with these things that they will have a tendency to swallow our problems. The decision to occupy the mind with the higher things in life is an act of the will.
Benefits of Celebration
Celebrating brings us a number of benefits:
- It saves us from taking ourselves too seriously.
- We add a note of joy, of festivity, of hilarity to our lives.
- It can be an effective antidote to the periodic sense of sadness that sometimes constricts and oppresses the heart.
- Gives us perspective
- In the celebration, the noble and powerful regain their balance and the weak and humble are given new stature.
Finally, one of the great benefits of celebration that deserves to be highlighted is that the more we celebrate, the more we want to celebrate. Therefore, celebration begets celebration, joy begets joy, laughter begets laughter. These are one of the few things in life that we multiply when we give to others.
Practice of Celebration
When children celebrate, they make a lot of noise. They dance, they scream, they are in a state of excitement. Dancing and making noise are not necessary forms of celebration. They are just examples, to convince us that the earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord. We are free to celebrate God's goodness with all our guts.
Imagination can unleash a deluge of creative ideas, and exercising our imagination can bring a lot of joy. Only those unsure of their own maturity will fear such a delicious form of celebration.
Another way to celebrate is to turn family events into moments of celebration and thanksgiving. Have regular rituals of celebration not related to historical events such as birthdays and special days, but that belong only to your family.
Taking advantage of the festivities of our culture is also a way to justify a celebration focused on something that praises the name of the Lord and blesses people is a good way to celebrate.
Category: Spiritual Disciplines
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