We were eating dinner when the call came in.
My wife looked at me expectantly. “Is it her?”
I glanced at the phone, then nodded without enthusiasm.
The “her” my wife was talking about was our realtor. We were looking for a house. In the past three weeks, we had made offers on four houses. And gotten none of them. That afternoon, we had tried for a fifth. I had no reason to believe this offer would turn out any differently. The market was crazy. And our offer wasn’t anything special.
As the phone continued to ring, I sighed deeply. I didn’t want to answer it because I didn’t want to be disappointed again. I was tired of the emotional roller coaster.
On about the fifth ring, I picked it up.
“Hello…?” I heard our realtor’s voice greet me on the other end. After a brief pause, she announced, “Congratulations! You got the house!”
She talked for another two minutes, saying things I quickly forgot. When I hung up, I turned to my wife, who was looking at me with big, wondering eyes.
“Yes!” I pumped my fist, and as she jumped up from her chair, I gave her a hug and a kiss. We actually danced around the room, both of us shouting, “We got the house…! We got the house…!”
The dancing, kissing, and hugging continued for several minutes, followed by a prayer of thanksgiving to God – who made it all happen. We then opened a bottle of sparkling apple cider we’d been saving for a special occasion and raised our glasses to toast our future.
We were celebrating!
Webster’s defines “celebration” as the action of marking one’s pleasure or happiness by engaging in an enjoyable activity. “To celebrate” means to make note of or to honor something or someone. Among the synonyms are to praise, to rejoice, and to give thanks.
Celebration can include outward actions like holding parties or special dinners, creating special foods (think cake), singing, dancing, shouting, clapping, exchanging high fives, doing cartwheels and backflips… But it can also be expressed more quietly, through prayer, silent contemplation, or even tears of joy.
In the Bible, celebration often involved pausing from the regular routine of life to take time to remember the marvelous things God had accomplished. It took the form of festivals and feasts in the Old Testament, along with public displays of worship. For instance, at one point, the psalmist encourages, “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.”
In the New Testament, Paul extols us to rejoice in the Lord always and to give thanks in all circumstances – implying that we are to engage in a perpetual celebration of God and His faithfulness.
Writing for “Christianity Today,” author Shauna Niequist describes celebration as “noticing the good that still exists even in the middle of the broken. Life is wild, chaotic, beautiful, and sacred all at the same time. I’ve learned that celebrating in the midst of that wildness and chaos makes the beauty and the sacredness much clearer.”
Editor’s Note: Throughout July, we’ll continue celebrating what God has done and is continuing to do through Biblica around the world. As we do, we hope you’ll join us in giving thanks to the Lord and publically displaying our joy at having the opportunity to serve and follow Him.