God celebrates, and he is inviting you into celebration as well. After all, he is the inventor of joy, delight, laughter, goodness and celebration. “Whether solemn or exhilarating, formal or spontaneous, celebration can enlarge our capacity to enjoy and serve God.”1 If you desire to find fulfillment in the Lord, his word, his people and the world, the practice of celebration is for you.
In This Article:
What Celebration Is Today
Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! — Psalm 34:3 ESV
According to author Adele Calhoun, “Celebration is a way of engaging in actions that orient the spirit toward worship, praise, and thanksgiving. Delighting in all the attentions and never-changing presence of the Trinity fuels celebration.”1 Celebration is a spiritual practice available for us to mark the moments we see God move — in both big and small ways. Although we do celebrate certain circumstances, it is not always based on circumstance. Meaning, we can find reasons to celebrate even amidst pain and sorrow.
Why Do We Celebrate?
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” — Psalm 30:11-12 ESV
Now that we’ve addressed what celebration is today, you may wondering, Why do we celebrate? It is important to remember the goal of practicing celebration is not to become the most joy filled people or followers of Jesus unable to recognize and be affected by trials. Rather, the goal is simply to grow a muscle of joy and celebration within us, so we are forming toward the likeness of Christ. He is the ultimate example and the most prominent cause for celebration. Perfect and blameless, he suffered and died on the cross, resurrected three days later and defeated death — all so we could have a relationship with him and receive the undeserving gift of eternal life. That is a reason to celebrate in all seasons of life. Finding things to celebrate brings the heart deep pleasure and gratitude when we revel in the Lord’s splendor.
How To Celebrate
“I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” — 2 Samuel 6:21-22 NIV
Many of us naturally know how to celebrate, such as holidays, birthday parties, graduations, new jobs, or simply laughing with friends. However, it is often more difficult to know how to celebrate when it feels as though there is nothing worth celebrating. It is also significant to know how to celebrate if we want to be intentional about celebrating others and giving God the glory for joyful times in our own lives. Like all spiritual disciplines, it requires practice, so here are a few ideas to practice celebration:
- Share answered prayers with close friends.
- Ask people what they are currently celebrating.
- Begin a daily journal and record your celebrations.
- Write a song of celebration or celebrate the Lord in worship.
- Host a monthly celebratory dinner with friends.
- Designate time to celebrate on your Sabbath.
- Write a thoughtful note to someone celebrating who they are.
The world projects reasons to be disheartened. However, deeper than the world’s suffering is the joy, delight and hope found in the Lord. To celebrate God and the life given to us sets our hearts on this good news and controls how we may respond to difficult situations in the future. Practicing celebration is another way to walk in the way of Jesus and gives us a taste of the joy to come in heaven. Heaven is celebrating and overflowing with joy, so let’s bring a piece of heaven to earth and celebrate, too. If you want to learn more about celebration or engage in a community that will celebrate alongside you, consider attending Grand Canyon University’s Spiritual Formation workshops or visit our Christian identity and mission page.
1 Calhoun, A., Adele (2015). Spiritual disciplines handbook: Practices that transform us. Ivp Books. An Imprint Of Intervarsity Press.
Approved by the local outreach coordinator of the Office of Spiritual Life on Nov. 5, 2023.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.