Last night we opened our last Christmas 2015 gift, a package from a dear friend in Germany. I love celebrating Christmas during the other 11 months of the year. We usually send our our “Christmas” family letter and photo collage in January making it the first Christmas letter anyone receives each year. We love celebrating. Life is a grand gift to celebrate and raise a toast of thanks for this amazing gift. Adele Alhberg Calhoun, in her book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook writes, “God celebrates. He invented delight, joy and celebration. And one way we enter into the divine life of the Trinity is through celebration” (Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, 27). I love the final verse of Psalm 16 Calhoun quotes in her chapter on celebration, a verse of God’s promised pleasures: You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Daily, we have much to celebrate, even in face of troubles and sorrows. Celebration is an intentional act of the heart, a spiritual discipline, a turning of the soul to God. Underneath all the infirmities and sadness of this life is the ever-pulsing, eternal joy of God’s presence. As the prophet Zephaniah beautiful celebrates, The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Here are a few ideas on celebration as a spiritual discipline from Calhoun’s fine book:
- Identify the place that you most readily connect with God. Go to that place.
- Intentionally place yourself in the presence of God. Recall God’s gifts, provisions, guidance and love toward you.
- Consider ways to celebrate the sacred calendar of life in Christ, including upcoming Ash Wednesday and Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, Advent and Christmas. Add one of these into your annual celebrations this year.
- Spend time with people who give you joy.
- Celebrate someone’s birthday in a way that reminds that person how precious he or she is to you and to God.
- Consider how God loves you and delights in you. Celebrate the God who celebrates you.
Photos by D. Robinson: gifts to celebrate which we received this week from our dear friend from Germany, including Moravian Daily Texts 2016, a daily devotional book now in its 286th year of publication; an angel card with angel painting by Christel Holl titled “Engel des Weggeleits”; box of Cafe Schmidt of Freiburg handmade chocolates!