The Art of Celebrating

Serious question:

How do you feel when someone else wins?

No, stop. Don’t lie. I mean really wins. Like, your best friend wins on a $30 million lottery ticket.

What’s your first thought? OK. And your second?

Ah, see, there it is. “Me.” Somehow, “I” enter the thought process much more quickly than I’d like to admit. “Self” wants to participate. Instead of purely celebrate.

Last night Luik was told he would be heading home to Grandma Jo-Jo’s house.

Alone.

He was thrilled.

His older sister was not.

Parenting boys means keeping after the purely stupid things they do for no other reason than to see what happens. Parenting a girl means keeping after drama. Lots of drama.

When Eva finally started to descend from the delirium of her self-centered throes, I talked her through the concept of celebrating her brother’s blessing.

Now, mind you, Luik is by far our most sensitive, most sincere child.

Here’s what happened:

Eva walked into the living room to see Luik all dressed up and ready to go. She’s hugged him, still half-sobbing, and said, “Congratulations on getting to go to Jo-Jo’s house.”

Without missing a beat, Luik said, “Congratulations on getting to stay home.”

Of course all the adults in the room bit our fingers and held back laughter, trying not to ruin the lesson of the moment.

But what was the lesson? Perhaps there was more than just the obvious.

Learning to celebrate one another’s victories – and identify with defeats – is a core value of the Kingdom (Romans 12:15). In fact, much of the political turmoil I see in our nation could be averted if we’d kill jealousy with a healthy dose of genuine celebration. Entitlements to those who have worked hard to be entitled is a virtuous thing. But further still is the citizen of the Kingdom who understands he/she is entitled to nothing. Breathing is a gift. But the polar opposite is the person who feels they are entitled to anything at the expense of everyone else. This is the attitude of a child who was never properly parented.

But there is another lesson:

Learning to see that right where we’re standing is worth celebrating.

To Eva, going to Jo-Jo’s is going to Disney World. But she failed to see the value of where she was. In a home, with her family, and a new baby brother. Even though Luik was excited to leave, he was genuinely happy for Eva who was able to spend more time with Baby Levi and the family.

I’d say nearly every American – including myself – is so focused on what we wish we had that we fail to see the incredible blessing of what we do have. Correcting such an attitude is at the core of a contently lived life.

So try wishing yourself “congratulations” today. Not for where you’re headed. Or what you someday want. But for where you are right now.

Congratulations! ch:

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  • Elisabeth

    So, so true. Thank you for this!!!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      You’re welcome, Bit. Thanks for reading.

  • Stephen Byers

    Another great read bro. Perspective is everything. Luiks, “congratulations on getting to stay home,” line was hilaruious.Thanks for the persepctive today.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      You’re most welcome. I can only write out if personal experience. So I stand equally “perspectified.”

  • http://www.goFarr.com Will

    I love how you let God work through you. I can tell you with a great degree of certainty that this message was meant for “me”. “I” have very recently battled (or am still battling) this exact issue. I realize that I am one of millions (billions?) who can benefit from your message today!

    Thankfully, God makes it apparent to me on many occasions how very Blessed that I am. The envy and jealousy are always one careless thought away though…

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      I’m right there with you. I praise God for timely reminders in my own life. Like those demonstrated from my kids!

      May these lessons sink deep into us. Thanks for being so honest, Will.

  • Billy Jepma

    That’s awesome, I miss your kids. They’re just so great, but I think they’re coming over w. Jenny today. :) Looking forward to meeting Levi!! :)

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Coolness! They love you guys right back.

  • http://none Glade

    Aye, thanking for bringing us these messages each day, Sir Hopper. You remind me of things I never should have forgotten. You are so right. The knee-jerk reaction is always “me”, and is something we all struggle with.
    And when we come to realize this, we remember that jesus led a truly selfless life. How wonderful our Lord and Savior is!!

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Yes, yes, yes! He is indeed the model for all virtues. Of course, He’s God, He kibda’ has to be. But relating to Him as a man makes it much easier to understand the embodiment of profound truth.

      Thank YOU for reading everyday!

  • http://Www.dreamingprincess.wordpress.com Beth Walrath

    Needed this reminder. Though it’s always tough to examine ourselves and realize what we need to work on, it’s awesome when we learn lessons fro
    children.
    We are all blessed & have a reason to celebrate, but celebrating others victories can actually be enlightening! :)

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Looking at just what there is to learn in celebrating others’ victories would make for a great post!

    • http://Www.dreamingprincess.wordpress.com Beth Walrath

      So true. Hmm.. I need to blog again. You mind if I use that?

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      That’s what I was implying. ;)

  • Don Bonner

    Have to agree with Will. Good read and thoughts. Thanks, Chris.

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      Indeed, indeed. As do I.

      Thanks for your kindness, and for reading, Don.

  • http://www.jenniferhopperphoto.com Jennifer Hopper

    Incredible perspective. Your way of captivating an audience with relatability and down to earth stories reminds me so much of Jesus as he told stories on the hill side. Captivating, convicting and compelling.

    You’re amazing.

    Jenny

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      What do I say to the most amazing woman in the world?

      Thank you endlessly. If I’m anything like Jesus, it’s because you helped me be that way.

  • Sarah Rice

    Thank you so much for this…. Needed that type of reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “I wants” and “what if’s” of life, we end up totally missing all the wonderful things our God has given us already. So many times I catch myself doing that. Thanks for the reality check… God’s reality that is. :)
    Sarah

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      You’re welcome, Sarah! Well said.

  • Hannah Hayner

    love this!!! for some reason, we humans need lots of reminders to appreciate what’s happening in the moment. but what’s happening now is so exciting if we stop and pay attention! even if it’s not fun stuff, if we go about it the right way, it will make us stronger and build our character (Rom. 5). i recently put this quote as my status on facebook and your post made me think of it again: “we must refuse the temptation to compare & critique. Rather, we celebrate. For what we celebrate, we will be more likely to participate in.”

    • http://www.christopherhopper.com Christopher Hopper

      “What we celebrate, we will be more likely to participate in.”

      What a great line! It’s actually a Kingdom principle. The whole reason we’re exhorted to “mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice,” then coupled with “be faithful with that which is another man’s and you’ll receive that which is your own,” is because in stewarding other people’s experiences, we actually position ourselves to receive the anointing and reward for our own. It’s fascinating, really.