Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

What Children Teach Us, Part II: Celebrate!

Posted by flyingbk on 11/23/2016

It had been a while. But when I was at my friends’ place on Sunday night, I highly anticipated it as my friend and I got beers and clinked our bottles together. We said “cheers,” which promptly sparked what I was hoping for. When I sit for food and/or drink at their place, their precious 2-year-old daughter will join us and shout, “Cheers!” as she extends out her drink (usually milk). She’s obviously observed us during our frequent imbibing of alcohol, and now follows suit, cheer-fully.

I smile every time I hear her exclamation in my head. We say “cheers” and unite our bottles and glasses as a ritual, stating that we’re glad to be enjoying something tasty (and perhaps tranquilizing) as one. But truthfully, every moment of life is meant to be celebrated, and celebrated together.

Let’s look at Philippians 4:4-5, both in the NIV and MSG translations:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (NIV)

4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! (MSG)

Many of us know this passage in the NIV. But one reason I love The Message is that it functions as an elucidating translation. Often times in the past, I’ve read one translation and wondered what it really meant. And then I’d read the MSG, and find what I was searching for. And it would be accurate; Eugene Peterson really did a great job with it.

What I realized while reading the MSG translation of the verses above: Our rejoicing, our celebrating, our constant reveling in God and in life, makes us contagious. When there is a pure and ever-flowing wellspring of joy coming out of us, people take note. There is a clear connection between the rejoicing in the Lord of verse 4, and the gentleness that is evident to all in verse 5. Rejoicers and celebrators make for great witnesses of the truth of Jesus, who for the JOY set before him (read: you and me, his people), endured the pain and suffering of the cross. Taking time out to consistently celebrate softens others’ hearts and gives them a glimpse of the glory of God.

That’s one reason why we enjoy being around little ones: They remind us of the innocence and happiness of youth. They remind us that there is much every single hour and every single day to be enjoyed and celebrated. A few tips to celebrate well:

Be on the Lookout

I have a friend who finished a big project recently and would now have to wait for about 45 days on the results. When she finished, I texted her, “Let’s celebrate.” Her reply: “I’ll celebrate after the results.” And I’ve told her, that’s the wrong way of thinking! We need to take time each hour, each day, celebrating, savoring, enjoying any accomplishment, any moment of beauty.

I’ve always looking for any excuse to rejoice. When I finish a book. When I finish a chapter. When a student demonstrates that he or she actually learned something from me. When a student simply behaves. When the work day goes well. When the work day is simply over. When I see a bright blue sky. When I feel soft rain. When I enjoy good time with friend(s). When I get home safely from said time. When my sports team wins. When I don’t cut myself while shaving. When I sleep really well. When I listen to good music. You get the picture.

Find People

We are meant to celebrate together. It’s common knowledge among my friends that I love to celebrate my birthday (Countdown: 20 days!). It’s my birthday month, and I milk it as much as possible. I want to celebrate with each and every one of my family and friends, and I’d like to think I use my birthday as an excuse to catch up with all of them. Furthermore, I’m also celebrating each of them and what they all mean to me in my years of existence.

It ought to be that way as much as possible. I went walking around Storm King on Saturday, and I would’ve enjoyed the breathtaking views and perfect crisp autumn weather on my own. But enjoying them with friends made it even better. We’ll all be gathering for Thanksgiving meals tomorrow, and inhaling all the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, lasagna (a Koo Thanksgiving tradition), and apple pie tastes a lot better with family.

So, don’t celebrate alone. Find someone to rejoice with, to savor together, and to be jointly thankful.

Give God the Glory

Each celebration is actually a means to an end. We must remember that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17, NIV). God is the one that affords us each moment of rejoicing, and we best recognize the source.

We have come to the principal benefit of celebration: Each time we do so, it brings us closer to God. It provides a better lens with which to see what God is doing in our lives. It turns our gaze heavenward, when we’ve been keeping our heads down for far too long. The City of God becomes more of the reality that it actually is.

Life’s too short not to be savored and enjoyed and celebrated. And looking to do it, and then doing it, keeps us sane and keeps us level. It’s also a tremendous disinfectant against jadedness and disillusionment. So with Thanksgiving tomorrow and the homestretch of 2016 in front of us, let’s seek to celebrate, enjoy, and savor as much as possible.

*****

Here’s the intro and Part I of this “What Children Teach Us” series.

No weekend links this week, but here are a few good reads regarding Thanksgiving:

-Tim Challies on the link between thanksgiving and joy.

-Yes, we are broken, but we can be thankful still.

-Now’s a good time to evaluate our generosity: Does it come with expectations?

-If you’re struggling with ingratitude, read this.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! Thankful for all of your support!

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