On Celebrations

on celebrationsI posted not long ago that my new discipline was celebration. I don’t celebrate anything. I get overwhelmed and can’t decide how to celebrate. I forget. I want to do pricey things and can’t accomplish them.

The result is a life devoid of traditions and rhythms and celebrations. I don’t do it, and now my family doesn’t do it, either. I also don’t do it spiritually. I love the idea of following the church calendar and celebrating Advent and Lent and Easter, living with more rhythms and traditions. However, again I get overwhelmed and do nothing.

A few weeks ago I decided it was time to renew celebrating in our house. Just so happened that a few days after this commitment, my mother came to visit. It was days before Mother’s Day, so I took her to lunch.

No, this isn’t monumental. But since I haven’t celebrated her for Mother’s Day or her birthday for a long time, it was enough. I didn’t have huge, wild plans, just a meal where she and I talked and laughed.

Recently I finished teaching at co-ops. I took two of my kids to dinner. Again, simple. My youngest helped me decide where to go, and we had a good time.

This week my youngest finished school for the year. Since I’m his teacher, that means I finished, too. And I mentioned that we should celebrate, and he’s been talking about that. He’s getting excited about celebrating. He’s looking forward to it. We haven’t look forward to things in this house for a long time. It’s wonderful.

I was letting myself get bogged down in the specifics of a celebration, but it turns out it doesn’t take much. A simple meal, some laughter, and everyone’s happy. Sure, I’d like to expand, and some events call for more, but we’re heading in the right direction. Father’s Day is coming, and I want to celebrate both my father and the father of my kids. The Fourth of July isn’t too far away, and I can’t remember the last time I made the effort to find fireworks. I want to do that this year, make the effort and let my family know that sometimes we work hard to make fun things happen. It’s worth it.

We also have a vacation this summer. It’s been almost a decade since we took a vacation. So, once again we can celebrate, go out of our way to try new things, see new places, and simply revel in the adventure of life.

As far as spiritual disciplines go, it seems I’m not focusing on the spiritual, but maybe that’s okay. When Advent comes around this year, I plan to be ready for it. And there’s something spiritual about celebrating the people God has put in my life. Family, friends, events, anniversaries–all are opportunities to be grateful, to honor people I love, and to remind my people that they are worth some effort, that they are special and it’s okay to feel special sometimes.

Anyway, I promised to revisit celebrations and let everyone know how it was going. I’m so thankful that I opened a book on disciplines a few weeks ago and was reminded that the spiritual life isn’t just introspection or sacrifice or even serving. Sometimes it’s simply fun and joy and delight. And experiencing the fullness of life–that’s always a good thing. We were meant to live in fullness, and celebration is reminding me of that every day.

Oh, on another note, I mentioned that none of my kids acknowledged Mother’s Day. My oldest was on a business trip that week, and when he got home, he took my youngest and me to the movies as a late Mother’s Day gift. I was so happy. Again, it doesn’t always take much to celebrate a person. (And if you haven’t seen it yet, for those of you who like superhero movies, Captain America: Civil War is a very good superhero movie. Just sayin’.)


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