Celebrating Every Season
“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4 New International Version).
Celebration serves a beautiful purpose in the life of a Christian. It is an opportunity to outwardly praise God for an event that brought joy and change in our lives. When we think of celebrating we often associate it with birthdays, weddings, births, retirements, and graduations. Each of these mark a change of season in our lives. Throughout the Bible we see God use seasons to bring hope, change, growth, and dependency on Him. There are seasons of joy and laughter and seasons of weeping and mourning. There are seasons of transition and discomfort and there are seasons of new beginnings and fresh starts. Each of these seasons call for celebration.
“That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil--this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13, NIV)
Celebration the New Beginning:
The purpose of celebrating is recognizing that an event took place that was life changing and praise worthy. It is easy to celebrate the new beginning such as a wedding, birth, or graduation. It’s an exciting time that is full of hope. We have just closed a chapter that was difficult or stagnant and we are entering a time that is a fresh start. Celebrating during this joyful time is essential. God calls us to rejoice during all seasons of our lives. The world today is full of terrible news reports, sickness, violence and hopeless situations. We talk to people about their lives and hear stories of desperation and emptiness. Our world is weighed down by trouble and burden. How different would our lives look if we had an attitude of celebration? As a Christian we are not exempt from trouble or heartache. This is why there is such great purpose in celebrating the new beginnings, the joyful times, the exciting news, and the hard work that has paid off. Taking a moment to celebrate the good, gives us hope and demonstrates thanksgiving to God. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, NIV) Our God is constant, even when our seasons are ever changing. Let us rejoice and thank God for the new beginning and the closing of a chapter.
Celebrating in the Transition:
The time of transition can be one of the most difficult and painful times. This is often where God is growing us the most, but we don’t feel that growth because everything around us feels stagnant. This season often comes after a new beginning. For example, graduating from high school and entering college. As a college student this season feels as if it will never end. You spend four to five years of your life (six for some of us), living in multiple places, waiting for graduation and praying that it will come sooner than later. This season of transition can often feel lonely, unproductive, and unfair. But this season of transition is essential to the growing process of a Christian. One of the most mature things that we can do during this season is learn to celebrate the little things and to remember that hope comes with the Lord. We often associate faith with feeling. But faith is so much more than feeling, it’s a constant walk towards God despite the feelings of stagnancy.
Celebration in the Ending:
Our Bible tells us that there is a time for everything under the sun. That means that the seasons that feel out of control, immoveable, and painful are part of God’s design. Struggles are not separate from a Christian’s life, but rather cultivate growth and maturity. There will be many endings in our lives; break ups, deaths, loss of a friendship. Learning the celebrate through the struggle is a skill that few have developed. “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5, English Standard Version). The most hopeful thing about an ending is that God is in control and His thoughts are so much greater than ours. This is a hard, and maybe even controversial truth to grasp, but God is all knowing and His plan is perfect. Which means the ending to a relationship or a life is not in vain but is a call for celebration.
This past semester has been a time of celebration and mourning for my roommates and I. We celebrated one of my roommates upcoming wedding through a bridal shower, two of my roommates getting into the graduate schools of their dreams, one of my roommates getting countless interviews and job offers, and my other roommate returning from a once in a life time internship in Washington D.C. It amazes me that we are all the same age, going to the same university, yet we are all in completely different seasons. This year hasn’t been all joy and laughter. Multiple roommates have lost friends and family members to illnesses, been rejected from jobs, broken up with their long-term boyfriends, and have had to deal with the mundane routines of life. I use these women as an example because each is experiencing something very different; new beginnings, transitions, and endings. But no matter the season, celebration is our call.
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English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.