WARNING this blog post comes with some soul-searching questions, so keep reading if you are up for it.
It started the way all evenings do on the evening of a Christmas party:
- We entered the address in the GPS
- Grabbed our hors d’oeuvres
- Donned our coats
- Hopped in the car.
“Yep! That’s it right there,” I alerted him.
As we walkd to the front door I implored, “Hey, honey stop! Let me take a picture.” I said.
“It’ll be kinda dark,” he warned.
“I know, I know, but the inside is so illuminated! It’s fabulous.” Snap! I walked toward the entrance.
As I stepped inside, I was enveloped by the surrounding beauty and felt the welcome of God. What a feast for the eyes, a kaleidoscope of colors and textures. The home was a combination of bed and breakfast meets decked out department store, with a heavy dose of gift shop filled with shimmering nostalgia.
It was a display of the glory of God! Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Colossians 3:23 Well, my sweet friend Anne decorates her house for Christmas for the glory of God, that’s for sure!
The environment was simply stunning and my senses were on overload. The first thing to capture my attention and beckon me to draw near was the heavy laden Christmas tree in the corner of the room.
There were multiple trees in the house, but this one captivated me. I stared and gawked for quite a while. How in the world does she get this whole tree decorated? It’s filled with ornaments even deep into it! Gosh! This must be quite a lengthy process. This is incredibly stunning!
“Hey, Anne you go girl! May I take some pictures?” I inquired as I stood frozen in awe.
If I had tried to capture each vignette or stunning thing I came across, I would never have joined the party. I’d still be there taking photographs. Carefully hung lit garlands topped every window and railing along with winter scenes and Christmas touches everywhere.
The feeling of welcome hung in the air the way the swags hung above the fireplace. Mulled cider was on the stove and the dining table seemed ready to receive whatever was carried in by the arriving guests.
All I could do was toot my friend’s horn and celebrate her amazing gift of creativity and artistry. I couldn’t stop tooting her horn because I knew NOT to celebrate would be simply wrong. “This is simply amazing! Truly beautiful, Anne. I celebrate you.” I repeated. “Wow!”
Now I realize someone maybe intimidated or jealous or overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy if they were to compare this stellar gifting to their own abilities to decorate and adorn their home. I have learned how much celebrating the significance of a person and the genius of God in them helps combat any comparison or competition.
My personal mantra is, “Don’t Compare, Don’t Compete, Celebrate!” This started the “Celebrate Movement” in my life and has gained traction. I wrote about my mantra in one of the chapters in my book, Lily Pads – Stories of God on Display. Lily Pads
Celebration then is rooted in the goodness of God and the giver of all good gifts… Him!
Celebration was my only response to the talent and artistry I embraced at the moment and continued as my friend Anne cut cheeses and carefully placed items to create a delightfully appetizing and visually stunning charcuterie board. A little more cheese sliced, some fruit peeled, some raw honey was set amongst the items and…Voilà!
Let me turn a corner and ask you a few questions relating to the above question: How good are you at celebrating, truly celebrating?
- Are you able to celebrate the giftings you see in another person or close friend?
- Do you want another person to really thrive and be blessed?
- What if the celebration is a bridal shower for a beautiful young bride to be, but you’re single and you long to have a special someone in your life?
- Can you celebrate and rejoice with those who are experiencing what you hoped would be your own reality, but it hasn’t turned out that way, at least not yet?
- What if it’s a baby shower to honor the couple and the joyous occasion of a soon to arrive bundle of squishy flesh that will rock their worlds forever and bless them exponentially, but you’ve had multiple miscarriages or can’t conceive or haven’t yet? Can you still truly celebrate?
- Can you celebrate the good that you see?
- Do you celebrate even when that “good thing” seems to fly in your face and illuminate what you’re missing at a given moment? Or does it create a “fake celebration” in your heart and produce jealousy within you, bitterness, even anger or apathy towards God?
Let it be a visual aide of God’s goodness. Allow it to bring hope to your heart for what may lie in your future as a picture of the good things God can do and is still doing and may have in store for you. He is the good gift and the blessing given to all of us, Emmanuel God with us. That’s the point of Christmas.
How good are you a celebrating, truly celebrating?
There is a scripture, Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15 Be present in life with those around you and bring your honesty to God in the moment of grief and uncertainty, but don’t get stuck in the place where you can’t celebrate the good you see in someone else’s life. Rejoice!
Celebration is an antidote to me-focused downward spiral of self-pity or any negativity creeping in and sucking the life and joy right out of you. Remember, the joy of the Lord is our strength, we can be sincerely happy for those who are experiencing the beauty of a life lived in the goodness of God’s blessings even when it is hard for us personally at the time. God is the giver of all good gifts and he knows both our needs and our hearts’ desires. He doesn’t withhold any good gifts from us.
The LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor, no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11
Celebration then is rooted in the goodness of God and the giver of all good gifts, Him! When we celebrate people, events, and good times, we are celebrating people made in the image of God whose creativity reflects their maker. Parties and celebrations testify to the goodness of God because he is the giver of all good gifts.
How good are you at celebrating, truly celebrating?
Are you stuck in the comparison trap? Do you think you have to compete with those around you for God’s attention. He is delighted with you. There is no need to have the best tree, food, clothes, possessions, gifts or blessing. Do you realize when God gives a good gift to someone else he still has a plentiful supply for you? Their portion is freely given and God does not run out! There is always more!
God lives in abundance and He will supply our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus, let’s ask him to make us true celebrants of what he has done and what he has ahead for us too!