I have the “gift” of celebration. You probably aren’t sure just what that means.
I’ll tell ya…
I love to celebrate. Not on a grand scale.
In simple ways, on ordinary days when God shows up just in time.
When I divinely cross paths with someone that He has sent.
When my children get the help they need.
When God gives me a creative idea.
When my husband feels refreshed and renewed.
When others hand their fears and dreams to God…
If I am being honest, I need to give credit to my Mother who started this long ago.
We would stop at the market and buy some meat and cheese and eat it in the car and call it a “party.”
We would sing at the top of our lungs in the car, and enjoy sharing our love for the LORD.
We would pray privately in a hospital room for God to do what only He could do after leading my father into the perfect storm. We celebrated in advance.
She taught me how to celebrate spontaneously. And now, I carry it forward. And it’s best to celebrate NOW, because we never know what is around the corner.
Over the years, I have picked up on this pattern… anytime we are given an infirmity, a weakness, a trial, a setback, or a dose of bad news, God has plans to redeem it and to heal us. That’s what He says. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Are you celebrating yet? A future and a hope?! Hallelujah!!
So, when I am given something hard, I try to celebrate. I claim a celebration in advance because I know that God is on the other side of the trial. That good is coming. He will be faithful.
I’ve come to believe that celebrations are biblical, as well. The Bible says “In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” (Luke 15:7) Every time someone decides to put their trust in the LORD, heaven celebrates. The angels cheer. Oh, to be there!
In another place in the Bible, God tells us to meditate on and remember the great things He has done, and the marvelous ways that He has moved. So, I want to do just that. I create new “Celebrations” often that place the focus on God’s goodness. My children and I will whip something up in the kitchen in order to celebrate with those who are experiencing victory, or who need encouragement…whomever God may place on our hearts. We rummage through our “gift closet” and deliver a surprise. We celebrate good days.
I would love to share my gift of celebration with you, if you will allow me to. And just so you know, there is always something to celebrate.
I’ll post some of my celebrations here, but feel free to leave a comment with your ideas as well.
Here’s one of my favorite celebrations…..Autumn Blessings
Every year, when the cool air blows in, I put a date on the calendar for our annual “Autumn Blessings Celebration.”
I have typed out the following scriptures and framed them:
“I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” (Psalm 143:5)
“I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.” (Psalm 77: 11-12)
“We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so that next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.” (Psalm 78:4-7)
“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” (Psalm 145: 3-7)
I bought a sign at Big Lots that says “Autumn Blessings.”
I put pens and paper on the table, and a small little woven basket.
We start out with a prayer that goes something like this…
“Lord, we know that all good things come from You. You, Lord, deserve the praise and the glory. We celebrate all the personal victories that you have given us this year so that we can remember just how much you love us. Lord, even when things are hard, we want to celebrate because you, Lord, have never forsaken those that love you. Help us, Lord, to live our lives with a spirit of gratitude and celebration. Amen.”
Each person seated at the table takes a few minutes to write down some of the things that they are thankful for. Small things, big things….things that God has done in the past year. And then, we throw them in the basket. We elect a reader, or pass the basket around and let everyone pull a blessing out of the basket. And we pause after each one is read. Those who are charismatic, (uh, huh…me) will affirm the blessings that are being read with an “Amen” or “Thank you, Jesus.” The blessings can remain anonymous, but if the person who wrote the blessing has more to say about it, we open that up for elaboration.
At our house, we usually prepare something small to eat, and cider to drink. This year, a friend of mine invited me over and asked for me to introduce this celebration to a group of women. The group was a little larger than I thought was ideal (especially to celebrate private victories), but I am always surprised at the amount of thought that goes into each card thrown in the basket, and the beauty that comes out of transparency and openness.
If you are throwing a party, I’d love to know what you are celebrating. Leave me a message in the comments below.