When we first started the “Celebration Magazine,” the idea was simple: we wanted an outlet to celebrate and make people aware of the great things that are happening in and around our church family. We didn’t want to focus on how many people came to an activity or even how much fun everyone had. It’s not that either of those things are bad, it is just that what we want to celebrate exceeds any numerical benchmark or subjective opinion. Simply put, we want to celebrate a person or group of people who have the courage and determination to become more like Jesus.
What gets really exciting, though, is when others begin to celebrate these things on their own. It is one thing to recognize the importance of someone taking a step to live and look more like Christ, but it is an entirely different thing when we stop and actually take time to celebrate it. And we aren’t talking about a pat on the back or a phone call, we mean a full blown party!
On January 6, one of our small groups made a commitment to read through the Bible over the next year. More than that, they wanted to take this journey together. They wanted to provide accountability for one another. They wanted an outlet to reflect on, question, and discuss what they were reading, not in a vacuum but as part of a community. So, they found an app that mapped out their reading plan for the next 365 days which allowed them to share thoughts and comments back and forth. They have spent every Wednesday since then doing just that.
For the next few months, these ladies have read, talked about, and lived God’s word together. It was so impactful that Aimee Germ, one of the ladies in the group, said, “This is a really big deal. We should celebrate this!” And so they did… with a party. A party because they had spent 99 days in the word together. When is the last time you’ve heard of someone taking the time to plan, organize, and throw a party all because they are getting closer to Jesus? If that isn’t worth a party, what is?
Sometimes it is easy for us to lose sight of what is worth celebrating. Honestly, our culture has made it feel very natural to celebrate a job promotion or a school championship. And that’s not to say we shouldn’t celebrate those things. But imagine what life would look like if we started to celebrate the things that matter eternally? How cool would it be if when someone started a Bible study with a co-worker or spent an hour with God every day for a month straight, our first inclination was to find some way to celebrate with them the fact that they were becoming more like Jesus? If when someone decided to commit their life to Christ or came back to God after a long time away, the first thing we wanted to do was literally throw a party (if that doesn’t sound familiar, checkout Luke 15)? Our challenge, then, is to always be looking for the opportunity to celebrate when someone takes their next step in becoming more like Jesus.