Did you know that God invites you into a life shaped by celebration?
That you were made for celebration?
In this blog I want to show you exactly what this means, and what steps you could take to experience it.
Hello everyone, this is Roy Godwin from Roy Godwin Ministries. A big welcome to you all, including those who are regulars and those who are new to the Word for the Month. You can find many more resources at roygodwin.org, including The Blessings Course. We pray that the Lord will bless you as you read on…
What part does celebration play in your life? Did you know that your character and personality were designed to live within a context of celebration?
It’s a blunt statement, isn’t it? That you were made for celebration? Who says so? Well, God does! But what does it mean and how can we enter into it? That’s what I want to share with you; not exhaustively, but hopefully with enough information, scripture and practical suggestions to help you increase your experience of living with celebration God’s way.
There are all manner of obvious reasons which may cause us to celebrate.
A marriage. The birth of a child. A birthday, an anniversary; the memorial of a life well lived… We have friends in the arctic north where Schools close and everyone celebrates on the first mid-January day that the sun appears on the horizon after the long, dark arctic winter when the sun never appeared.
Celebration is already a natural part of life for most of us. A winning goal causes massive celebration for the winning team and supporters.
In the Old Testament
God built foundations of celebration into the people. Here are some examples:
- Every 4 weeks there was a celebration. How could everyone be sure to remember the right day? Easy: There’s a full moon every 28 days. Always! Regular as clockwork, before clockwork was invented. See Psalm 81:3 Note: Celebrating on the full moon is not the same as celebrating the full moon itself. That would be pagan.
- They celebrated the ingathering of harvest; not for an evening, but for 7 whole days. Lev 23:39
- David needed no excuse to celebrate. He had encountered the Lord. It became his lifestyle to celebrate at any opportunity. 2 Sam 6:21; Ps 42:4
- There was a celebration at the dedication of the temple, rather like our celebration when a new church is built or an old one restored, only much more so. Neh 12:27
- The memory of the Passover Feast was celebrated every year on the fourteenth day of the first month each year. Ezek 45:21
- There were many other feasts and festivals at which the people celebrated the goodness of God, including the Sabbath.
In the Old Testament we see a pattern of celebration, including:
- Rejoicing! Let the earth and heavens hear the sound. Even our neighbours, if you haven’t invited them to join in.
- Memories. Retelling the stories together, and for the younger generation
- Community. After all, it takes two to tango!
- Food. This is a celebration; come on, let’s eat something together.
- Regularity. Building a pattern of celebration into life.
In the Gospels
Jesus showed us how to live life to the full; and he did so out of poverty, not riches, knowing rejection and misunderstood repeatedly. A Man of Sorrows who nevertheless was the most joy-filled, celebratory human who has ever lived.
Not only did he promise those who come to him an abundant life, but he openly demonstrated that life that we might understand what it means to be fully human.
Jesus celebrated the sabbath, being found in the local synagogue wherever he was. Lk 4:16
Jesus celebrated the feasts, John 2:23, and had grown up doing so. Lk 2:41
He celebrated the Passover, including with the disciples on the evening in which he was betrayed. Matt 26:17; Mk 14:12 ff; Lk 22:7ff; Jn 13:1ff
Of course, he repeatedly scandalised the religious leaders by his celebrating. Matt 11:19; Mark 2:16; Luke 5:29; 15:2
The Early Church
- They celebrated Daily Prayers Acts 3:1
- Eating meals together
- Regularly celebrating The Lord’s Supper (Eucharist)
- New Christians through baptism Rom 6:4; 1 Pet 3:21
It is instructive to read Acts 2:42-47
Most people celebrate some things. Yet Christians have one enormous additional reason to celebrate: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! So, we celebrate Easter each year. And Pentecost. And Christmas. And harvest.
Maybe we attend regular congregational celebration gatherings but haven’t thought of or participated in them as a personal celebration ourselves.
Celebration – A Personal Gift From Jesus For Today
We should be celebrating Communion/the Lord’s Supper/ the Eucharist. Yes, celebrating it!
We shake hell when we do it. We are affirming the victory of Jesus and the guaranteed fact that he is coming again, this time in the clouds with great glory, and every eye shall see him and every knee bow, including the knees of Satan and his cohorts. We will be caught up with Jesus and the church will be purified as the beautiful bride Christ has been waiting for. No more morning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, and he will wipe away every tear from our eyes. This should be a celebration of joy indeed.
When we grasp all this, we may desire to do what the early church did, and regularly celebrate Communion at the close of a meal in our homes.
You can find two alternative downloadable structures for Communion in our online shop.
Communion, the Pivotal Centre of Celebration in Our life
Who turned Communion into a quiet, mournful, religious activity? As though our Saviour is still dead and buried, lost forever in a gloomy tomb. When the death of Jesus is spoken of in the New testament, it always includes his resurrection. We need to burst out from bondage and remember again what Jesus said and meant: As they were eating, Jesus the Bread of Life took bread, and after blessing it, broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “take, eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me”. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “drink of it, all of you, for this is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
I tell you, I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Fathers Kingdom”. Matt 26:26; Lk 22:19
When we participate in the Lord’s Supper, we remind ourselves of the Easter events; the willing sacrifice of our Saviour/Redeemer; we rejoice in our salvation/redemption. We demonstrate the cost and the sheer love of God for us through bread, wine and words. We declare to heaven and earth that Jesus is coming again. For us! It’s not a sad memorial. It’s pure joy! And we celebrate!
The Ultimate Celebration
Our celebrations of communion on earth point to a further celebration. When we see Jesus we will celebrate, and so will heaven – with the party to end all parties, a feast of good things to end all feasts, the great Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Then we will see him as he is, and be with him forever.
The table is laid. There is an invitation for you, and a place with your name on it. Prepare yourself. Be thankful. Celebrate!
Yes, now is the time to rejoice. Again I say, Rejoice!
Heavenly Father, Thank you for your amazing salvation. Thank you for loving me even to the point of rescuing me at the cost of your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for showing me that you love me.
Please teach me and lead me into a life that celebrates and anticipates the coming of Jesus again, and the fulness of your kingdom. Help me to grasp every opportunity to celebrate, and connect me with others who have the same heart.
Forgive me for my dullness and fill me again with the joy of my salvation, renewing a right spirit within me.
In Jesus name. Amen
I bless you in Jesus name, that he may grant you a vision and foretaste of the full salvation that arrives with the return of Jesus as King. I bless your heart, mind and spirit, that he might refresh you and set you free to truly celebrate his goodness and his plan for your life, regardless of your current circumstances.
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© Roy Godwin 2021