You Have Something to Celebrate!
Recently, we had a big celebration in our family. My daughter completed her master’s program, my son completed high school, and my husband turned 50. Major life events within a 3-week span. Wow!
I asked each of them how we should celebrate and each of them said, “We don’t really need to do that.”
But something in me felt very strongly that these events, these achievements, needed to be celebrated. I had been thinking about this for a while.
What is it in us that wants to celebrate big events? Why do we love a good feast or a party where we get to hold the people who matter to us a little closer in the moment? I wanted to dig through Scripture and see what God says about these events. A trusted friend had once said that God wants us to celebrate the milestones in life.
I felt so strongly about the need to celebrate this HUGE month in our family that I went to this great website that I always go to when I want to look into a specific area of life: Openbible.info. The site has a “topical” Bible that allows you to type in any word or idea. You can easily find it by searching “What does the Bible say about __________?”
The link suggested verses like Luke 15:23. What does the father do when he sees his son coming home? “And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.”
And in the story of Esther, when the people defeated their enemies in Susa, there was a huge celebration: “Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the rural towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and as a day on which they send gifts of food to one another.” (Esther 9:19) I love the idea of parties where we just give each other gifts of food!
And how many Psalms talk about celebrating and praising God for all he has done? That list is practically endless!
That sealed it for me. WE were going to celebrate my family. Something in me just needed to hold on to this moment. So I told them how much I needed everyone to be home on this day and not much more. I did not want them to see the decorations or the refreshments or the guest list. I wanted there to be a little element of surprise even if it was not officially a surprise party.
A LITTLE TIP: Do not EVER plan a party for your entire family unless you have a good network of friends that can help you through the process. Thankfully, I have a mother who has a gift for planning parties and a mother-in-law that was a caterer . The day of the party, a couple of friends showed up and said, “What can we do to help you?” I felt so blessed to have people around me that knew no one can do everything by herself.
Now, about this party...
It was not fancy. We had cake and some snacks. And people talked and spent time with the honorees. They perused pictures, exchanged cards, and ate cake. After all, Ecclesiastes 10:19 says, “Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life.” (We did have good punch.)
It forced us to slow down and recognize this moment, this month of accomplishments. And isn’t that what God wants us to do? Yes, the party was about my family. I am very proud of who they are. But more than that, it is about all that God has done for them — for us. And this celebration marked a big event and a new chapter in their lives.
One reason I wanted to have this party more than any other party I have given my children was the revelation that life’s pace is sometimes at warp speed. It got me thinking about all the events in life we were “too busy” to celebrate. They are gone now. Will we remember them? My son often sings John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy.” In that song is a line that puts a lump in my throat every time: “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.” That line is full of regrets and it’s so poignant in a song about being there for this new child.
I wanted my family to slow down, to see life as it is happening... and to remember the year that my children received diplomas and my husband entered a new decade.
Life is changing too quickly for us (probably not quickly enough for my children). The house is going to be a little quieter. The days are going to have a different design. By marking that transition with a celebration, I can prepare for the change a little more easily. I can know that we stopped to recognize God right in the midst of us, directing our steps, and leading us to this moment. It was in the midst of that party where we were surrounded by people that have meant so much to us for so many years that I realized God has been preparing us for this... and for whatever is coming next.
The purpose of sharing this big event here is to warn you:
Do not ignore the big moments. Do not downplay the events that should be celebrated. The transition itself is as much a part of the experience and the blessing as the achievement or the new way of life. It is a moment to stop and reflect and to remember that God DOES have you in the shadow of his wing.