Celebrate | April 13-18
Spiritual practices can be things like praying, reading your bible, and fasting. But, because those are things we often think of first when we hear "spiritual practices", we may inadvertently miss out on other, less traditional...but awesome and creative approaches.
Celebration | Engaging in actions that direct our attention toward God with gratitude, worship, and praise. We delight in God, Who He is and what He’s done.
But, honestly...what is there to celebrate right now? People are losing their jobs, getting sick, and dying. Our world is suffering. Nothing is normal. We don’t know when this will end. ...One thing about God...He is still God, still good, and still working things out for the good in spite of the brokenness of this world, regardless of our circumstances. He is hope, and THAT is worth celebrating.
***Important note: celebrating doesn’t mean hiding, ignoring, or pretending bad things aren’t happening or aren’t having an effect on you. We still need to face those, own those, and work through them on our own, with others, and with God. Celebration, though, can be accessed during hardships and certainly once we’ve been allowed to process and even grieve.
DAY 1: LET'S START WITH YOU
Whether solemn (with some sadness) or exhilaration, formal or spontaneous, celebration can enlarge our capacity to enjoy and serve God, even when our circumstances are difficult.
- What was the last thing you celebrated?
- What were some celebrations you were looking forward to before quarantine?
- What is some good that has come from these extreme circumstances? Were they unexpected? How have you celebrated those?
- If you feel some heaviness, or you feel like you have an overly serious or critical side or hurting part of you...how might celebrating God affect you, your heart? What is there, still, to celebrate about God...even now?
- Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Romans 15:13 – How are these verses even still possible?
DAY 2-5: TRY IT OUT
What are some ways you could celebrate in these next few days...not ignoring the hardships, but intentionally seeking the good, seeking to see God at work in your day-to-day?
- Create a gratitude journal: either each day this week or just today, make a list throughout the whole day detailing the things you’re grateful for. These could be big and obvious things like family, a home, maybe your health, someone doing something kind for you. They could also be smaller things like the sunshine, a warm breeze on your face, finished homework, a project well-done, taste, colors, bird songs, etc. At the end of the day, reflect on what that experience was like for you...to be seeking things to celebrate all day.
- Make a collage that represents your joy. Find pictures, magazine photos, objects, write things, draw things...and then cut them out, pin them, tape them, glue them to a board or a wall that represent things that bring you joy. ...You know, God delights in your joy. How might celebrating things that bring you joy be a celebration of God? ...You could do this throughout the week or just one day.
- Memorize a verse that brings you hope and joy and recite it throughout the day. Draw it, write it out, make a song out of it. Consider 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Romans 15:13, Philippians 4:6, Psalm 136:1-2 (which is already a song! See if you recognize it!).
- Plan to celebrate someone’s birthday, celebrate someone in your family you appreciate, celebrate a sibling, celebration an accomplishment, plan a drive-by celebration with friends from your cars, celebrate someone who is missing out on a celebration because of quarantine...like a graduation or prom. Plan one of your own! God delights to see His kids come together, love one another, and support one another. You may or may not execute the plan this week, but at least get one started and maybe invite someone along to help!
DAY 6: TRY IT OUT
Take some time to think about, write, or draw out your reflections. What was it like this week, choosing joy, choosing celebrations, choosing hope? … Sometimes we may think those things happen TO us like when bad things happen TO us.
But also like bad things sometimes, we can actually choose joy, hope, happiness. Our world may go through ups and downs, but God stays the same. … What was this week like for you? Was it fun, a relief, calming, soothing, freeing or was it challenging, frustrating, upsetting? Explain.