Tag Archives: celebrations

God Loves Celebrations: Part II

This post originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

When I wrote the first post with this title, I thought I was finished with the subject. It turns out, I’m not. My last post was in light of a wedding I’d recently attended, and how amazing and God-honoring it was, how God must truly love celebrations of all kinds, and encourage His children to participate.

Now that Christmas has come and gone, and I’m exhausted with all the joy (and chaos) I’ve been experiencing, it happens to be my middle child’s birthday. Just like any mom who wouldn’t want her son’s birthday to be overshadowed by the birthday of his Savior (well, you know what I mean), I’ve tried to plan a few things, save some presents for his special day, and make sure he feels celebrated. He hasn’t really wanted a party, but told me that for his fourth birthday (the only fourth birthday he’ll ever have, ya know?!) he’d like a “yellow or boy-colored watch” (like his dad’s) and some cake. He didn’t mention a party, fancy food, a special outfit, or balloons – which I do plan to get early that morning, along with some sprinkled donuts. Why will I do it anyway? Because it gives our whole family great joy to celebrate him! The joy I derive from celebrating him must be only a tiny particle of the joy our Father derives from celebrating us.

Let me explain.

I’ve spoken about how God planned all sorts of things for His son’s birth, angels and unkempt shepherds and the like. In Psalm 145, we are encouraged to celebrate His goodness (v7). His goodness when He blessed my husband and me with a son, after a hard season of sadness over a miscarriage. Celebrating my son, for me, is celebrating a gift from God! And God loves the celebration! It is, to both of us, an expression of my gratitude.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells a parable that finishes with a celebration. The prodigal son had returned to his father, hanging his head low and expecting (asking, even!) to be treated like a servant. However, the father is so delighted that he calls for a celebration to rival all other celebrations. That father, symbolizing our heavenly father, celebrates his son’s return, without even mentioning his sins. To bring it back around to my four-year-old, his tantrums and mistakes abound, but his birthday is a day to celebrate his very existence in our family, his very being that was lovingly created by God, who knit him together in my womb (Psalm 139) before we knew anything about him. I’d say that a gift of that magnitude is worth celebrating! And I daresay God would agree.

And still, all through the old testament are more and more examples of celebrations. Harvests, festivals, Passover… there are celebrations for all of these, signifying God’s faithfulness, His provision, and the deliverance He provided and is providing for His people over and over again. He built celebration into the strict rules the Israelites followed in the book of Exodus, and it continues all the way through till Jesus’s birth. There were rules surrounding celebrations and how they were to be observed. But the first rule was that they would be observed. Celebration has been an integral part of His plan for us, from the beginning of time. If in Zephaniah 3:17 it says that He will rejoice over you with singing, then I’d say celebrations are for you, too. 

God Loves Celebrations

This piece originally appeared on Everyday Exiles.

I’ve been privileged to take part in a great many celebrations. From weddings and anniversaries, baptisms and birthday parties, to dedications of babies and even memorial services, I have been a part of countless celebrations. Honoring relationships, accomplishments, and simply life itself, it is a beautiful thing to celebrate our blessings, the people we love, and just being together. I believe that God gave us the gift of celebration on purpose, that He is pleased when we join together in fellowship and celebration. It is part of the life abundant that He came to give us!

Perhaps the piece of scripture that’s most obviously a celebration is Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. We know the whole story well, but here’s the best part: “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. Bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:22-24)

We aren’t always celebrating the return of a beloved person back into our lives, and we aren’t always killing fatted calves to do so. But if this parable, a picture of God’s love for His wandering children, is full of uninhibited celebration and holding nothing back from the son who was lost and then found, then it is fitting we should celebrate, pull out the stops, and show our love by sharing joy in this way!

Along with the countless other feasts, convocation days, and dedications mentioned throughout Scripture, the most incredible example of God-honoring celebration is found, as you might expect, at the birth of Jesus. There were no invitations sent, or caterers booked. There wasn’t a cake or 10-piece band. There was, however, a gorgeous star put up in the sky for just such an occasion, as well as a singing multitude of the heavenly host, and the proudest parents there have ever been.

This picture of the first-ever Jesus-worshipers is still my favorite image. Surprised, unkempt shepherds, used to hanging out in the fields with their sheep. New parents, knowing they had just experienced something special, but not really knowing the full extent. Angels (Full stop. Can you imagine angels at your next baby dedication?) coming out in hordes to announce the birth of Jesus, singing the first songs of praise, and filling the skies with the glory of the Lord. If that doesn’t seem like a picture of a father celebrating his son, you might need to look again. Jesus had been sent by a Father who was celebrating not only him, but the rest of His sons and daughters who would be saved by this Son of Righteousness. A truly happy Father, who was seeing His redemptive plan begin.

St. Patrick’s Celebration!

What a fun day we had at our St. Patrick’s Day event! Everyone put on their green best, shamrock necklaces and tutus (well, EK did) and ate delicious traditional Irish food (breakfast, lunch and dinner!), sang Irish tunes, drank some Guinness, and visited with old friends.

This is still at home, but it’s the only picture of her whole outfit!
They don’t make many adorable shirts for bigger boys. All that “first St. Patty’s Day” and “Kiss Me I’m Irish” stuff stops for boys around 18 month size. He’s clearly a little past that.
A little post-breakfast table selfie.
Boys being boys.
The Bedlam Boys is the name of the Irish band Hubby plays in, and they always kill it at the big party each year.
Tim Finnigan, waking from the dead! (The party is called “The Wake” and it’s based on the song “Finnigan’s Wake” – obviously what the pub is named after.)

Let me tell you a little background about this pub we love so dearly. It first opened in 2006, but I first went there in 2007 – my senior year of college. I knew it first as a bar, but it’s always been a restaurant, too. My first visit was with Hubby, who took me there for our first hangout. They’ve got a lovely back porch to spend time on, in addition to the pub inside. It’s always been a spot for dates ever since we’ve been together, whether the whole date is there, the beginning or the end. The summer we got married, we did this thing called the “90 Day Club”. At the time, the rules were just that you came to the pub, every day in a row for 90 days. It didn’t matter if or what you bought, it just matter that you walked in the door. We did it the two summers after that, also, becoming the only couple (or person) to do three separate 90-day runs. We’re kind of a big deal. Ha. We finished the last time a few weeks pregnant with EK, so she became known as the first 90 Day Baby, and her one-week birthday was celebrated having dinner at the pub.

Ever since spending 90 days in a row there, and getting to know the bartenders, wait staff, and owners, it’s felt like family when we’re there. Hubby’s band plays there a couple times a month, and it’s a favorite lunch spot or dinner place to go with our kids.

That being said, one of our favorite days of the year is the big St. Patrick’s party, so naturally, our kids will grow up having that as their big celebration every March.