Cel­e­bra­tion: Know­ing that every good gift is from God and a rea­son to party.

Of all the dis­ci­plines I’ve prac­ticed over the years, cel­e­bra­tion is the one I have strug­gled with the most. Cel­e­bra­tion often begins with grate­ful­ness, which leads to joy and when done right car­ries over into a jig. While I start well, I just can’t seem, with much con­sis­ten­cy, to pull off the joy and the jig. 

I have spent the major­i­ty of my life with chil­dren and this is not an issue for them. They are per­pet­u­al­ly par­ty ready. I have been to count­less tea par­ties and been asked to dance by peo­ple under three foot tall at least twice a week for two decades. But I’m always feed­ing off their cel­e­bra­tion, it’s rarely my own. 

Late­ly though I’ve been pay­ing atten­tion to their par­ty­ing ways, try­ing to grab a few bread crumbs from the cel­e­bra­tion table. I found that they don’t even count their bless­ings! For shame, they aren’t even overt­ly thank­ful! After spend­ing an evening with six of my favorite young friends, I real­ized cel­e­bra­tion begins with an all encom­pass­ing sense of safe­ty. These chil­dren can par­ty because they feel safe. 

Here’s the dif­fer­ence. When I start to count my bless­ings, I do begin to feel joy and the jig, but before I can say par­ty stream­ers”, my joy is hijacked by the need to feel safe. The what if’s” begin to ring in my ears, and I’m back where I started. 

But my young friends live in the land of safe­ty, they are free to par­ty at a moment’s notice. 

Lis­ten­ing to Richard Fos­ter has giv­en me many gifts, but maybe one of the great­est is the say­ing, The King­dom of God is not in dan­ger.” Dal­las Willard often said, The uni­verse is a per­fect­ly safe place to be.” Any­body with ears or eyes knows this is crazy talk. The world is not safe — but the king­dom of God is. Our God is a redemp­tive God and there is noth­ing he can’t turn around for good — and that’s some seri­ous safety. 

So the LORD and I are work­ing this out. I count my bless­ings and he says, See, I can be trust­ed. You are safe.” I’m going to keep gath­er­ing crumbs from my young friends, but I’m also prac­tic­ing the merengue just in case. 

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Originally published November 2013