Friday, July 18, 2008

Celebration -- Hope Chronicles 57

A few weeks ago, I was at the pool with my friend Jill and her two boys. The boys were off at the slides and Jill and I were sitting in the very shallow (can just walk in and get your feet wet if you want) end of the pool. Jill had been working on her latest book and had just recently got it sent off to the publisher. (It's due out next spring and sounds very cool. It parallels the similarities between Jesus and motherhood -- like the crowds following him everywhere.)

My question was, "So, what did you do to celebrate getting it turned in?"

She looked a bit startled and said something to the effect of, "Life gets so busy I just move on to the next thing."

On the flip side, one of her boys thought we needed ice cream to celebrate his going down the big slides for the first time.

I don't know how good I am at celebrating things. However, that conversation has stuck with me. I wondered how many things I skip celebrating in my life because I get busy. I think I more easily see the things in life that others could celebrate.

Celebration usually denotes the bigger things like birthdays, Christmas, Easter, the job promotion. It's setting aside a special day or time in recognition of the event. And one of the things that usually comes along with celebrations is the making of memories and remembering the past.

In the old hymn "Come Thou Fount of Blessings" it says, "Here I raise my Ebenezer. Hither by thy help come." Rather than being a reference to Charles Dickens's Ebenezer Scrooge, it's a reference to 1 Samuel 7:12. The Israelites had been fighting with the Philistines. At one point, the Philistine's are subdued. Verse 12 says, "Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, 'Thus far has the Lord helped us.'"

On second thought, maybe that verse is also what Dickens had in mind with Ebenezer Scrooge -- the man who couldn't imagine letting his employee off for Christmas. Ebenezer Scrooge learns the importance of celebration in that story.

Remembering. That, I think, is the heart of celebration. Celebration is the language of hope. It does three key things:

  1. It marks the event as special and worthy of noting.
  2. It gives time to pause and thank God for his part in it.
  3. In remembering God's provision or blessing, it prepares our hearts for tomorrow. In recognizing God's provision it helps us trust Him with the future.
Does everything call for cake and ice cream? Maybe not. Does everything call for recognition by loads people? Maybe not. But, more things than not probably call for "little celebrations" of thanksgiving. Maybe it is setting aside an hour to read and pray or get a massage. Maybe it is the phone call to those couple of special friends to say, "Guess what God did . . . " so they can rejoice with us. But more than anything, it is setting that metaphorical or physical "stone" in place to remind us that God is with us. That is always cause for celebration and hope.

What is one thing that you can celebrate today?

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1 comment:

cautious1 said...

The gift of friendship.....
I had coffee with a friend whom God brought into my life when I was volunteering at a summer program for inner-city kids last summer.

My friend (who I have known for 16 years) was in town from Connecticut with her husband and their healthy, 10 week old twin girls! I spent some time visiting with them this afternoon.

God is good! :)