(pp 24-25 of Spiritual Discipline Handbook)
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it- Psalm 118.24
Watch our Celebration Video for an introduction to the discipline
God loves celebration- he created us as people to celebrate. When he created the world, he ended each day celebrating “and God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1). He wants us to celebrate the good in life, to be drawn into the joy of the world he has given us, and to delight in his love. And yet, when we are in the midst of sorrow, in the midst of chaos, and as we live into uncertainty, like we are right now with COVID-19, it can be hard to celebrate. What do we celebrate when we feel clouds are surrounding us? How do we find the light when there is so much darkness? And how do we celebrate if the world arounds us seems to be downcast? What does it mean for us to be people of celebration?
The spiritual discipline of celebration is a way for us to engage in the work of the Holy Spirit, through the love of God and the redemption we receive from Jesus. Celebration allows us to step back from our daily, earthy living, to pause and look around to see how God is working in the world in all circumstances. Paul tells us in his letter to the Thessalonians that we are to give thanks in all circumstances, not for all circumstance. What this means is that in situation we should look for something good to celebrate. And as we do that- as we seek for goodness, as we look for even a speck of light, we may find our minds, our anxieties, our moods are elevated, and we become more content. We cannot control the situations we find ourselves in, but we can control how we respond to them. We don’t need to celebrate the difficult things, but we can search for good things in the midst of heartache.
What are some examples of Celebration in the Bible?
Genesis 1: At the end of each day God celebrates his creation
Genesis 8-9: Noah celebrates God’s faithfulness
Nehemiah 12: The Israelite’s have a celebration after dedicating the wall
1 Samuel 2: Hannah celebrates God through song
Passover: Throughout the Bible there are celebrations of Passover, where Israelite’s remember God’s faithfulness in leading his people out of Egypt
Psalms: Many psalms are celebration (i.e. 34, 57, 100, 118, 134, 150)
Luke 2: Mary sings praise to God after learning her future
John 2: Celebration at the Wedding at Cana
Luke: The Father celebrates the return of his Son
Acts 16: Paul & Silas celebrate God from their prison cell
Revelation: celebration of the New Heaven and the New Earth
How and when do you most often celebrate God? Worship services? In a Bible Study? Prayer group? During hikes? Times of Solitude?
How do you most naturally connect with God and feel his presence?
When you’re in a time of uncertainty how easy is it for you to draw near to God and remember his faithfulness? How often do you celebrate the faithfulness of God when things are going so well?
Who is someone in your life (who you know personally) who celebrates God? In what ways have you witnessed and experienced their love and celebration of God?
What is a way you’ve seen someone celebrate God that is different to you? What would it take for you to “step out of your comfort zone” and celebrate God in a different way?
Go to your place (literal or metaphorical) where you feel most connected to God. Spend time there and celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness. This could be a literal place like a forest or beach, or it could be metaphorical such as listening to music or writing
Consider planning a celebration meal where you enjoy fellowship (in your bubble of course!) and a time of thanksgiving for the ways in which God has been good. Focus the conversation and prayers on praise and celebration
Think of the people in your life who are important to you and celebrate the gift they are to you. And through this, give thanks to God for bringing them in your life.
At the end of each day, write on a piece of paper at least one instance where you experienced God’s love that day. On days when you’re struggling read through the notes you’ve written as a helpful reminder of God’s presence
Spend time reading stories in the Bible where there is celebration of God’s faithfulness (see above for some suggestions). Put yourself into that story and celebrate how God is present in all situations