Spiritual Disciplines: Celebration

It may seem like an oxymoron to talk about the spiritual discipline of celebration. After all, discipline sounds like serious business. Yet our faith brings us so much joy and happiness, and jus has we need to learn to take it seriously, we also need to learn to enjoy it.

Christians Can Have Fun, Too

When we look back at Jesus' life, we often talk about the more solemn and serious moments. The crucifixion is one of the most important events in Christian history, and we should always keep in mind that Jesus died for our sins. Yet Jesus also celebrated life. He attended weddings where he turned water into wine. He raised the dead to much celebration. He celebrated his disciples at the last supper by washing their feet and breaking bread with them.

There are plenty of examples of celebrating in the Old Testament. From David dancing in the streets to the celebrations in Esther when the Jews were saved from slaughter (now known today as Purim), we learn that God did not just put us here to be solemn all the time. He also knows that sometimes the best examples of our faith come from joy, celebration, and just having some good fun.

Nehemiah 8:10 - "And Nehemiah continued, 'Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!'" (NLT)

Let Celebration Be in Your Heart

The spiritual discipline of celebration is not just an outward expression. Celebration is also something very internal. Joy is something we have to find in our own relationships with God. We know that every day is a gift. We know that God provides us with moments of laughter and sheer happiness. Even the darkest moments are made tolerable if we develop celebration in our hearts for the things God has done.

John 15:11 - "I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!" (NLT)

What Does Celebration Do For Your Faith?

When we develop the spiritual discipline of celebration we make ourselves stronger. No matter what happens to us, that joy in our heart holds us up and keeps us moving forward. We break down barriers to faith when we find happiness in God. We allow God to carry our burdens so that they become less heavy. We also find a way out of the darker moments faster, because we are more open to God bringing that joy back to the forefront of our lives. Without this discipline it could become easy to let the darker moments dwell in our hearts and weigh us down.

Celebration also is a greater light to others. Too many people see the Christian faith as whiney and more fire and brimstone rather than joyful celebration. When we practice the spiritual discipline of celebration we show people all the wonderful things about our faith. We demonstrate the strength and wonder of God. We worship God better and evangelize through our actions when we have celebration in our hearts.

How Do I Develop the Spiritual Discipline of Celebration?

In order to be strong in the spiritual discipline of celebration we have to practice it. This particular practice can actually be very fun for you and those around you:

  • Take yourself less seriously. We tend to take our lives and our faith very seriously, and we should. However, we also need to have a good sense of humor about what happens to us and around us. Mistakes and faux pas will be made. We all have those embarrassing moments, but allow God to use them to laugh at yourself. You never know when those moments will become an opening of faith.
  • Worship fully. Let yourself go when you worship God. When the singing in church begins, really belt it…even if you don't have a great voice. When you pray, let it all out. When you read your bible, make notes and think about the Word. Celebrate God in all that you do for Him.
  • Laugh a lot. Laughter really is the best medicine. When we practice the spiritual discipline of celebration we learn that there is something funny in any situation. Laugh when something is funny. Laugh when you're happy. If things get too serious, find something less serious to laugh about. Take a moment away from the darkness to just laugh.
  • Celebrate everything and everyone. The best way to demonstrate to God that you know how to celebrate Him is to celebrate everything around you. When a friend has a special moment, celebrate it. When something good happens in the world, celebrate it. Show your joy for even the small things.