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17 July -Shut down the party pooper!

It would be fair to say that as a family we love to celebrate. Every year we celebrate our six children’s and extended families birthdays. We celebrate anniversaries, milestones, graduations, holidays. If one of those events on the calendar isn’t happening, then we make up our own celebration. It’s how we approach life, our relationship with God and how we relate to Him and others.

Our second daughter turned 21 this week, and decided that instead of one day or even a week of celebrating, she is going to celebrate her birthday for the whole month. She has determined that not a day will go by during the month that she doesn’t do something special or treat herself.

She’s probably learnt it from the way my husband and I see life. We believe every day is special and a gift from God, so it’s worth celebrating. Unfortunately life can certainly try and knock that mentality out of you. To combat that and bring perspective and joy into our lives, we choose to celebrate and party on a regular basis. We choose to find things to rejoice and be thankful for.

Celebrations for generations have been used to unite people in honouring momentous events, rites of passage, religious observances and more. Celebrating as a group creates a sense of belonging, which is crucial to all of us.

In the western world, many of us have forgotten or overlooked the importance of our traditions, ceremonies and celebrations. We have forgotten the importance of coming together to celebrate life. In the name of progress we have lessened rejoicing over reaching our destinations and achieving our goals. Or perhaps for some, the thought of celebrating simply takes too much thought or energy when they are barely keeping “their heads above water”.

The thing is, I have discovered the power of celebrating and rejoicing. It’s a mighty spiritual weapon that God gives us to combat disappointment, despondency, heaviness and tiredness. It’s the power of rejoicing. Of rejoicing in life; in that we are loved and accepted by God, that He is in control, and has a plan. That everything is in fact going to be all right!

Philippians 4:4-9 instructs and encourages us to rejoice; to celebrate the good things in life. To think on those things that are true and pure and praiseworthy. And when we do, God’s peace will be with us.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Too often people think they have to have a “legitimate” reason to celebrate. A birthday, winning an award, an anniversary, the completion of a project, the accomplishment of a goal, taking a vacation, or some other “special occasion.” While all of these things can be fun to celebrate, we don’t have to wait for them to happen to feel justified in our celebration.

We need to shut down the “party pooper” within us, and the tendency to think it’s too much trouble. To shake off the thoughts of:

  1. I don’t have the time or money to celebrate right now, there’s work that needs to get done

  2. Things aren’t yet as good as they “should” be for me to stop and celebrate

  3. People will think I’m weird, naive, or obnoxious if I celebrate too much

  4. With so much suffering in the world and people having a tough time these days, it’s not appropriate for me to celebrate

  5. I’ll celebrate, for sure, but not until everything turns out exactly as I want it to

Regardless of what’s going on in our lives right now, we have so much to celebrate and be grateful for. Sometimes the best thing for us to celebrate is the mere fact that we’ve made it to this point in life, especially if things have been challenging.

God doesn’t want us to constantly wait to celebrate or find a reason not to. With Him celebrating can instead become a state of being, and way of life if we choose to live that way.

Stop for a moment right now and think of all the things (big and small) that you can celebrate about your life now. Write it down.

Then why not decide to just treat yourself, or invite someone over for dinner. Invent or revisit some family traditions and celebrations. Light the candles, string the fairy lights, crank up the music, bring out the dinnerware you save for “special occasions” and celebrate. You are never too old to celebrate your birthday, a significant date, event, or simply the day you have been given.

Think about scheduling in where you can throw a celebration with others, so that you can rejoice and give thanks together. The more you make it a part of your life the easier and more creative  your celebrating will become.

Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Christmas in July, a goal reached, a new week, family or date nights, the beautiful sunrise or sunset. It may take a little effort, but the joy and victory it brings into our lives is so worth it.

Prayer: Lord thankyou for the gift of my life. Help me to see the amazing opportunities in every new day, and to celebrate wherever and whenever I can. In Jesus Name Amen.

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