Rejoice in the Lord always!
Again I say, rejoice!
– Paul the Apostle (Philippians 4:4)
There are more than sixty references in Scripture to Celebration and most of them appear to be a divine invitation to throw down a party. We’re not talking about quiet, little well-mannered tea parties. The Biblical celebrations were raucous, belly-laughing, sing-at-the- top-of- your-lungs and dance-in- the-streets shindigs that lasted for days at a time.
It is easy to grow weary from all the serious “stuff” of life. There is so much to be done and only so many hours in the day, right? Yet, God wants us to rejoice and party? Seriously??? Yes, that is precisely what He wants us to do. The heart of God exudes outrageous love and joy. As portrayed by the father who enthusiastically welcomed the prodigal son home, shouting to his servants, “Kill the fatted calf and prepare it for a great feast. It is time to celebrate!” We get the sense God is looking for just about any excuse to fire up the barbecue and invite the neighborhood over for a party.
Celebration is a holy habit that requires the discipline of joy. It may sound odd to include the words “discipline” and “joy” in the same sentence but that’s what it takes. True joy is deciding purposefully and intentionally to rejoice, then making every effort to do so. This involves the continual practice of shifting our preoccupation from all the work we have to do and all the challenges we may be facing – to shifting our thoughts and our attention toward creating a resiliently joyful way of living. In the words of author C.S. Lewis, “it is an acceleration in the rhythm of celestial experience.” Which means, celebration is like getting a glimpse of heaven and taking a peek at what God is preparing for you.
Regardless of your situation, don’t wait to celebrate until everything in your life is sunshine and rainbows all tied up in a neat little bow. That may or may not happen. When Paul the Apostle wrote those opening words of encouragement to his friends in Greece, he wasn’t lying around on a beach somewhere on the Mediterranean soaking up some rays and sipping pina colada’s. He was in a dank Roman prison shackled to two guards in barely livable conditions awaiting a trial of dire circumstances. Still, his emphatic exhortation to his friends: “Rejoice…and again I say rejoice!”
Take time to celebrate your life today. In fact, MAKE time to joyously celebrate on a regular basis. We in Strawberry Fields celebrate you and offer appreciation for all God is doing and will continue to do in each of our lives. Please feel free to share with us what you are choosing to celebrate in your life. Be blessed!!
Lord, help us to rest in You today and celebrate life with outrageous joy.
Thank you that nothing – neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation – will be able to separate us from Your abiding love. In Your Name we pray – Amen.