Our Bible verse for today: “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.” “Nehemiah 8:10 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Take time to celebrate.”
Celebration is a spiritual discipline. It’s true. In Richard’s Foster’s classic work “The Celebration of Discipline” Foster lists “celebration” as one of the basic disciplines of the Christian faith. Along with things like prayer, Bible study, fellowship, worship, acts of service, etc, frequent times of celebration are an important part of practicing the Christian faith. Celebration is good for you and it should be part of your Sabbath-rest.
God’s people have a long history of engaging in fun times of celebration. For the Old Testament Jews their entire calendar revolved around a series of pre-planned annual festivals and celebrations. King David danced in the streets of Jerusalem as he led a parade. Jesus attended a wedding in the village of Cana and He even turned water into wine to assist with the celebration. The Christians in the early church in the book of Acts spent a lot of time in each others homes sharing meals and enjoying each others company.
As was noted in a previous devotional message in this series, the Bible refers to feasting, celebrating, and dancing more than 150 times. That’s because celebration is an important part of life as a child of God. After all, who has more to celebrate than those who are blessed by God and who have the promise of eternity in heaven?
As Richard Foster teaches in his book, celebration is actually a discipline that we are to practice for the sake of our spiritual growth. That being the case, we have to be intentional about it. We need to plan for it and fully embrace it. I hesitate to use the phrase “party hearty”, simply because it carries with it a negative connotation from secular culture. But the phrase does seem to capture the essence of David dancing with reckless abandon in the streets of Jerusalem, or of Jesus letting loose a belly laugh as He enjoyed the festivities of the wedding celebration.
Sabbath-rest can and should include times of wholesome celebrations with family and friends. It should be fun and joyous. I encourage you to celebrate. Go ahead and party hearty!