Lately, I’ve seen so much hype about choosing a word to focus on during the new year. I’ve never done it before, but when I was thinking about what word I would pick, I instantly thought of . . .
“They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” Psalm 145:7
The more I thought about why that word came to mind, the more I began to realize God is drawing my attention to a new way of looking at life and at Him.
In the past, I’ve viewed my relationship with God as a source of survival in hard times. I saw the Christian life as a sacrifice, full of suffering and struggles. Now, God is showing me a different way to look at my relationship with Him. Yes, the Christian life is hard, but it is still possible to celebrate in the midst of trials. I’ve always taken my relationship with God really seriously, which isn’t a bad thing. However, my love for God should be something that makes me excited and eager to celebrate Him every single day.
verb (used with object), celebrated, celebrating.
1. to observe (a day) or commemorate (an event) with ceremonies or festivities
2. to make known publicly; proclaim
3. to praise widely or to present to widespread and favorable public notice, as through newspapers or novels
4. to perform with appropriate rites and ceremonies; solemnize
What am I celebrating?
In my life, I’m celebrating a change in seasons. I’m moving from college into a career. I’m moving to DisneyWorld in less than a month to work at my dream job. Could there be anything closer to a celebration there!? I’m celebrating surviving college in 2.5 years and the way God worked out future plans for me, especially since I didn’t know what I was going to do after graduation. I’m celebrating the amazing friends He’s given me and the friends I will meet in Florida.
In Christ, I am challenging myself to celebrate my salvation, God’s gifts, the hope He gives me, and His consistent love. It’s a legitimate struggle for me to overcome cynicism on a daily basis. My close friends could tell you I am always tempted to whine and complain because I just don’t see how God could love me or believe that He’s working everything together for my good. More than that, however, is the way I easily fall into the trap of believing everything is meaningless. This is the opposite of celebrating the life Christ has given me, which is why celebration is the focus this year.
What does celebrating look like?
What first comes to mind is a party, which is something I usually try to avoid because I’m an introvert. Seriously. Whenever I went to parties at school, I never stayed the whole time, and I always made sure a friend was with me. Crowds feel like a threat, and I would rather not make small talk with strangers. Anyway, it’s against my nature to party because it’s like, why??? Sometimes going all out for a party seems excessive, but in celebrating, I’m choosing to believe God’s love is also excessive- He loves me more than He has to. Celebrating means accepting this excessive love even when I feel like I don’t deserve it. And finally, I need to share the celebration with others because what’s a party without guests!?
Sharing Christ with other people is difficult for me, but I eventually realized it’s something that looks different for everyone. I don’t have to be a super bubbly, energetic extrovert to reflect the hope I have in Christ to other people. Sometimes, it just looks like being a friend or being open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in day to day life. The bottom line is that Christ must be shared because when you celebrate something in your heart, you usually don’t want to keep it to yourself.
Doesn’t God celebrate?
God created celebrations. In fact, celebration is commanded and mentioned about forty times in the Old Testament yet is a topic sadly overlooked by Christian communities today.
The greatest celebration ever will be the unification of Christ and His Bride, the Church. Basically, a wedding!
Furthermore, worship should be a celebration, full of joy and excitement about what God has done for us, continues to do, and will do in the future. I used to think of worship as being kind of remorseful and serious until I discovered the band Rend Collective Experiment. Previously, I thought I was doing something wrong if I wasn’t crying in church. Sometimes, it’s good to cry in church, but what about happiness, laughter, and joy? And, of all things to celebrate, the Gospel deserves to be celebrated most.
The following video is from Rend Collective Experiment’s newest album, The Art of Celebration, and offers a fantastic explanation of how worship and celebration can be filtered into our lives.
Comments are welcome, as always. Have a lovely day!