When I was young, I thought celebration was my spiritual gift. Life was a bouquet of color, each shade evoking a different response from my eager heart. I had an innocent joy, an ability to laugh at and celebrate the most mundane things. I suffered from blissful naïveté and didn't comprehend the complexities of life—the moody tones that prevent us from conjuring up true joy, sorrow, laughter, or fear because it makes us vulnerable, or it might hurt too much.
But maybe the young and innocent do understand a profound truth about celebration: that it is a vital piece of the rhythm of faith and life, that celebration strokes bold colors across the mundane, the hardship, the sin, and the sadness of life.
Have our lives become monotone? Have we, like G. K. Chesterton wrote, "sinned and grown old," losing our ability to love and think youthfully? Have we forgotten how to celebrate?
Taking It All In
In a culture where work is often overvalued, we don't know how to enact, or even define true Christian celebration. It costs money. It doesn't seem productive. We've got more important things to do. So too often we settle for a celebration phantom, a cheap imitation. Even in our best attempts, eating or drinking is the closest we get. While these things can—and should—be a piece of celebration, they barely scratch the surface of the robustness we can encounter in celebration.
Real celebration helps us experience the full color spectrum of life in Christ. Life without this joy is bland and gray. Our eyes are half-closed to the blaze around us. Celebration cultivates a rhythmic depth within us. Like a character in any good story, we come to know valleys and peaks, evil and good, brokenness and restoration.1