In 1980, a song hit the airways that seemed to wash over America and make everyone smile. It was sung by Kool and the Gang and is titled, “Celebration.” The first verse goes like this,
There’s a party goin’ on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too,
We gonna celebrate your party with you.
Pretty cool, right? Well, Kool and the Gang were onto something that God had already determined was a good thing to do.
In the very first verses of the bible, God was creating all the cool stuff. After each thing—the land, the sky, the water, the trees, the sun, the moon, the stars—after all of it, the bible says, “God saw that it was good.”
And with those words, I believe God was celebrating what had just happened. I can imagine a twinkle in His eyes as He smiled and clapped His hands in excitement. In Job 38:4-7, God tells Job the “angel’s shouted for joy” while watching the earth’s foundation being formed. So I’m thinking there was a heavenly party going on. It even says the stars were singing. How awesome that party must have been!
And, think about the first miracle. It could have happened anywhere. It could have been done on a city street or in a vineyard or in an apostle’s house. It wasn’t. It was done at a party. The bible calls it a wedding “celebration.”
Clearly, God loves a party. Not the parties you hear about that make the news, but parties that celebrate events or people or special days. Parties that bring family and friends closer together. Parties that tell the world that something has happened that is special. Oh yeah, there was that party we read about in the bible that the father threw when his prodigal son come home. The father served, not the skinny cow, but the fat one—the best one. That daddy was so happy to see his son, he wanted the whole household to celebrate with him. The older son, who was working in the field, could hear music and dancing as he got nearer to the house. When he questioned his father’s judgement at celebrating a son who had squandered his fortune, his father simply said, “We had to celebrate this happy day. We are celebrating his safe return.”
Did you know there are 96 references to celebrating in the New Living Translation? God values celebrations. He gave the Israelites so many special days to celebrate. Why do you think He did this? I’m sure there are many reasons, but one must be to press into us humans the importance of enjoying life with others. God loves an attitude of joy and celebrating with others gives us a heart of joy.
Our family loves a good party and when I say “good party” I don’t necessarily mean one that involves huge expenses and lots of decorations. We love to celebrate everything from a birthday to the latest win in basketball. If we have time, we’ll bake a cake and put candles on top; if we don’t, we’ll put a candle in an Oreo and call it a day. Because it’s never about the things, it’s always about the people we are celebrating with.
Life is too short to NOT celebrate. One article I read said celebration is a spiritual discipline that God desires us to practice. I had never thought of it in terms of a spiritual discipline, but given the number of verses about joy, love, and hope, it’s clear that He never desired that humans live a dry, boring life. Celebrations bring us joy because we get to rejoice in each other’s good fortune. They bring us love because we get to come together and laugh and sing and eat with those we cherish. And they give us hope because we look forward to a special day or event. On days when we’re not feeling 100%, knowing there’s a celebration gives us something to look forward to. A sweet, precious older lady in our church would often say, “Let’s plan something!” because she loved having something to look forward to.
We are quickly approaching the biggest holiday season of the year. It’s a time to celebrate with family and friends. But, don’t just use the big holidays as times of celebration. Celebrate every day. Celebrate friends and different personalities and new foods and the sunrise and the sunset and cooler weather and your dog and your family and LIFE.
Plan something and look forward to it. Like the song says, “Bring your good times and your laughter too.” Then you’ve got a party.
Chrys Howard is an editor and writer, serves as president of the board of a Christian camp in Louisiana, and hosts a weekly radio show. She is also the proud grandma of fourteen, including Sadie.
Chrys also recently launched her new website, Rocking It Grand, providing grandparent resources that ROCK!