The Art of Celebration

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One of the privileges we carry as Christians is the art of celebration. And I say art because it’s much more of a skill that we hone over time than a natural gift we’re born with. The fact is, we’re born jealous, so celebrating others who are living through an experience greater than our own is contrary to our first nature. Yet it’s in this mystery of celebration that we position ourselves to receive our own experience.

Jesus shares this deeply profound yet shockingly simple Kingdom principal in Luke 16:12: “And if you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who will give you that which is your own?”

Often this scripture is used in the context of finances or physical possessions, which are both sound applications. But it also applies to the mental, emotional, spiritual and experiential aspects of our lives. Until we’re able to truly celebrate the seasons of those around, we can not expect to enter a similar season; such nearsightedness is the very issue Jesus was trying to address.

Sometimes it’s hard to find virtuous thing to celebrate in the midst of cultures that may promote godlessness, whether those cultures be individual family units or national communities. But there’s something there worth celebrating; the superior question is will we hunt for it? Because this is how Jesus approached his arrival on earth: surrounded by immorality and godlessness, yet poised to love the hell out of humanity, celebrating who he envisioned us to be.

The big takeaway for us as New Lifers is to look for and celebrate everything we see the Holy Spirit doing. Whether He’s at work healing in an instant or doing so over time, saving today or carefully plodding over decades, redeeming an investment day-one or stretching it out over a long-term plan, we must be a people that recognize His handiwork and honor His activity at whatever stage He’s choosing to operate in.

Look at the life of someone around you today, look for the evidence of God in their lives (trust me, He’s there), and celebrate. You’ll be happy you did; so will your future.

Congratulations to my very dear friends Joseph and Ciara Gilchrist. Jennifer and I are honored to be a part of your lives, and to have had the distinct privilege of marrying you both today. I love you “forever and always.”

ch:

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Life Two Handed

When you’re learning to do something new, don’t worry if you need to use two hands when everyone else is using one.

It’s part of getting better.

Proficiency is a sign of maturity.

Take it slow. Ask for help. Pride can often do more damage than inability. Resist the tendency to let repeated failure create constant frustration. And worse, make you give up.

Celebrate what you’re good at now, and use “two hands” at what you’re not. There’s no shame there. That’s probably why you have two hands anyways.

Regardless of how many times you spill, sooner or later, you’ll be a master cereal eater. (And a high-spender in your Daddy’s budget). ch:

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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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