One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty – and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works – and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. –Psalm 145:4-7
The people of God have always been a community that celebrates.
In fact, the picture we get from the Scriptures is of a community whose entire life and existence revolved around a rhythm of celebrations. These celebrations, we are told in Leviticus 23, were sacred assemblies — sacred not in the sense of solemn, but sacred in the sense of their essential nature and importance.
For most of these celebrations, feasting was of central focus, as was singing, dancing, eating, drinking, storytelling and ceasing from work. Often these celebrations were held in Jerusalem, so to participate in such celebrations took quite a bit of planning as people needed to travel with family and friends from their villages to the city of Jerusalem. The idea was that periodically, God wanted His people to step away from the rhythms of everyday life and step into a rhythm of celebration. In fact, God was so serious about this, He stated, “I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day” (Leviticus 23:30).
Fascinating. We believe and follow a God who essentially says, “Celebrate… or I’ll destroy you!”
Yet if you think about it, what God says may not be as far-fetched as it seems. A life that does not know how to celebrate well does not really know how to live. In other words, a life without celebration is a life that is already dying.
Which brings us back to one central question: Do you and I have rhythms of celebration built into our lives, or not?
Now some of us may have a hard time with this image of a God who likes to celebrate. This kind of God seems quite foreign to us. The sad truth is that for most Christians, the invitation to celebrate well has been hijacked and essentially turned into a solemn, serious gathering in the social hall with a potato salad. Where on earth did we go wrong?
The truth is that we do in fact follow a God who likes to celebrate and who calls His people to do it with all their might. We serve a God who invites His people to embrace a rhythm that says that we are more than our work, we were made for something so much more. We were made to be in connection with our Creator — and that is good news. In fact, that’s good enough to celebrate.
Do you celebrate well? Have you embraced a rhythm of celebration — gathering together with others to speak, and sing, and share of the goodness of our Creator? I hope so, because if not, you are moving quickly toward a life that is dying inside.
1. What are some things standing in your way of embracing a life of celebration?
2. What will you do to begin to live more in step with the God who likes to celebrate?