Another Year of Choices
By Barbara Dahlgren
God is a God of joy. The scriptures are full of exhortations to rejoice. (Psalm 118:24; Philippians 4:4) But did you know that God likes to celebrate as well? Celebrate means to observe a notable occasion with festivities. God likes a little singing (Ephesians 5:29, James 5:13), a little dancing (Psalm 149:3; Ecclesiastes 3:4), a little shouting (Isaiah 12:6; Psalm 47:1), and a lot of laughter (Proverbs 17:22; Psalm 126:2). Good times!
From the beginning it was so. When God laid the foundations of the earth He looked around and said, “It is very good!” Then the morning stars and sons of God shouted for joy! (Job 38:7) Sounds like a celebration to me!
For the Old Testament Holy Days God told the people to save their money, buy what their hearts desired, share it with others, and rejoice! (Deuteronomy 14:26) Sounds like a celebration to me!
After the wall of Jerusalem had been rebuilt everyone came together to dedicate it to the Lord. There was gladness, thanksgiving, praises to God, plus singing with cymbals, stringed instruments, and harps. (Nehemiah 12:27-28) In fact, God had them rejoice with great joy, so much so that “the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.” (Nehemiah 12:43) Sounds like a celebration to me!
When David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord to the city of David, there was much shouting and the sound of the trumpet. David was so excited he danced with all his might. (2 Samuel 6:14) Sounds like a celebration to me!
The biblical examples are endless. When the prodigal son returned, his dad threw a big party. (Luke 15:23-24) Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding. (John 2:1-8) And there is joy in heaven when one sinner repents. (Luke 15:7, 10) Sounds like a lot of celebrating to me!
God created us to enjoy life. Celebrations are an important part of that enjoyment. They give us a break from our routines. We take pictures, send flowers, write cards, give gifts, have parades, shoot fireworks, throw parties, and eat cake.
Consider this… Celebrations can help us commemorate our past, appreciate the present and look forward to the future – and we who have Christ in our lives have much to celebrate!
I don’t think God takes pleasure in joyless Christians leading joyless lives. I’m not saying we should all walk around with fake smiles on our faces pretending to be happy. There are times for quietness and reflection, but God’s presence in our lives gives us much to celebrate. God is the eternal joy giver. If we aren’t doing some celebrating, we might not be as close to God as we should be.
Suggestions for practicing this choice…
- Celebrate life! Start each day by thanking God for your life!
- Celebrate friendships! Give a friend an unexpected little gift because he/she is so special to you.
- Celebrate finished projects! When you complete a daunting task, reward yourself.
- Celebrate thoughtfulness! When someone does something especially thoughtful for you, send them a thank you note with a little token gift like a bookmark in it.
- Celebrate another’s happiness! A little card or email message to people on their birthdays, their anniversaries, when they get a promotion, when a baby is born, when a grandbaby is born, when they graduate,etc. can make their day!