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The Faith Practice of Celebration

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In A Habit Called Faith, Jen Pollock Michel writes, “Although Christians have a long and unfortunate history of making every pleasure a guilty one, [the narrative of the wedding at Cana] doesn’t tolerate asceticism for its own sake. No, it tells us that God can be as comfortable at a party as he is in the church pew—that our habits of faith can be as celebratory as they are contemplative” (p. 132).

That makes you stop and think, doesn’t it? Jesus would feel just as much at home at a high school dance as he would at an Advent service of lessons and carols.

As our team gathered resources for the 12 faith practices explored in the Faith Practices Project, we were surprised by how few folks have written about the spiritual discipline of celebration. It begs the question whether many Christ-followers would find themselves more comfortable tackling the post-wedding cleanup duties at Cana than enjoying the water-turned-to-wine. But celebrating is essential to our spiritual wellbeing!

Chris Schoon writes in his introduction to our celebration resource collection, “As with all faith practices, celebrating seeks to deepen our attention to the Holy Spirit, and in so doing to enrich and mature the ways we love God and our neighbors. Through the faith practice of celebrating, we delight in circumstances, relationships, and occasions that help us remember and anticipate God's abundant goodness, creativity, faithfulness, beauty, and love.”

As I write this, we’re in the middle of the Thanksgiving/Advent/Christmas/New Year’s chain of celebrations. In this sad, scary, anxiety-producing pandemic era, many of us are struggling to feel the joy that we associate with these holidays. Maybe it would help to ask, “How might we meet God in new ways in this holiday season? What practices of celebration might we begin now that will sustain our souls in the coming year?”

Here’s an example. In a blog post from OneLifeLeaders.com, Liz Bewley gives a two-minute video peek into why the Bewleys’ Friday family dinners are the best part of their week (scroll to the end of the page to see her video). The simple act of gathering for a meal becomes a weekly moment of faith-forming celebration and joy.

Check out more resources on celebration for individuals, groups, and families on the Faith Practices Project’s website.

Celebration | Celebration of Discipline, Week 12

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