Friday, August 30, 2019

Why We Need to Celebrate

By: Sarah Geringer

How often do you stop and celebrate little things (or big things?) I have a reason to celebrate today, and I'm surprised at how hard it has been for me to stop and celebrate. Maybe this is a struggle for you too!

This morning, one of my posts was featured on a large platform. It's been a bucket list dream of mine to be featured there only once, but now I'm on the devotional writing team! My posts will appear there several times per year, and I'm delighted. You can head here to see my post.

So many of us have fast-paced lives in which celebration can seem like an afterthought. Sometimes we relegate it to birthday parties, weddings and the like. But what can regular celebration bring to our lives? Let's look at this verse to learn more.

For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
Deuteronomy 16:15 NIV

In Old Testament times, God designated many different festivals to be celebrated among his people. These celebrations were intended to help the people remember all that God had done for them, thank him for his provision and protection, and praise his goodness and glory. These festivals of celebration also formed a regular pattern of worship for the Israelites.

Regular celebration makes our joy in the Lord complete. The four parts of celebration can cultivate deeper faith while elevating our joy:

1. Remember--Our joy is made complete when we remember what God has done to bring us to the point of celebration. Whether you are celebrating a career milestone, several pounds you lost, your child reaching graduation, or another bright moment, take time to retrace the path God led you on to get to this point.

2. Thank--While tracking the progress God made in your life, thank him for each time he led you. Today I'm thanking him for all the steps on my writing journey, including the smaller steps before I had an agent or book deal. Which big and small steps can you thank God for right now?

3. Praise--When you praise God, you honor his attributes. Which one of his attributes are behind your reasons for thanking him? For example, if you got a promotion at work, you can praise his sovereignty over your life. If your child just graduated, you can praise God for his all-knowing and all-seeing capabilities over your child. If you lost 10 pounds, praise God for being so caring and helpful. Do you see how praise is related to thanks with a personal twist?

4. Set a Pattern--Set a pattern for celebrating what God is doing in your life. I am applying this now to Sundays, the best day for me to slow down and reflect. By celebrating on Sundays, I will form a regular pattern of remembering, thanking and praising God. What day or time frame works best for you to celebrate God's work in your life?

I'm not going to let this celebration slip by, like so many other moments have done. This evening, I'll make an ice cream pie with my daughter's help, and my family will be able to celebrate this victory with me. I encourage you to also form a tangible celebration, even if it's simply dessert, to celebrate God's recent victory in your life.

Here's a prayer to encourage you today:

Heavenly Father,
I praise you for offering me joy through celebration. You are always my cause for celebration, Lord.
I confess that I often speed through life without taking time to celebrate the small or big victories. I want that to change today, because I want my joy to be complete in you.
Help me to cultivate a new pattern of remembering, thanking and praising you for all the goodness in my life. Open my eyes to the victories you claim for me every day.
I look forward to celebrating with you, Lord!
In Jesus' name, Amen.
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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

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Reflection questions:

1. What things in your life are worth celebrating today?

2. How do these Bible truths inspire you to celebrate your life?

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