It is odd to think of being disciplined to celebrate. Discipline and celebration convey ideas that are more opposite than alike. One could even make a case that the title of this post pushes toward being an oxymoron. I think that would be a mistake. It takes discipline to genuinely practice celebration in a manner that feeds our souls and builds up our lives in Christ.
Whether we are celebrating a professional milestone, an anniversary, a birthday, or good news on the health front, a celebration that becomes more than a gathering of good feelings and high calories entails the discipline to practice the following:
- remembering God’s hand;
- rehearsing the story of God’s presence;
- recognizing God’s goodness, provision, and protection with gratitude.
We see these aspects mentioned above throughout the Old and New Testaments in connection with the celebration of feasts and festivals. The people of God gathered not only to enjoy one another’s company and the break in routine but also to remember, rehearse, and recognize God’s fingerprints in their midst with humility, gratitude, and faithfulness. This biblical precedent should characterize our celebrations. The discipline of celebration can help transform our everyday parties into feasts and festivals that grow us more into the likeness of Jesus.
Some ideas to consider as they relate to celebration as a discipline.
- On your own: Find a quiet place to reflect on the past and remember how God has blessed, provided, and/or protected you. In response, put it in a poem, depict it in a picture, write a song, or make a collage to commemorate God’s faithfulness and goodness.
- Celebrate someone’s birthday, anniversary, or special day by adding an element of sharing how God has been evidenced in that person’s life in the past year. End the time by praying for the next year of life, inviting God’s presence and power to help the person continue to grow into Christ-likeness.
- Go all out this next Christmas, Easter, or Pentecost and make it a true feast. Invite some guests and enjoy Christian fellowship, a special meal, rehearsing stories (both the biblical narrative and your own) and celebrate God in your midst through song, testimony, and/or prayer.
Where and when are you most likely to celebrate God?