Celebration of Life

Luke 15:23-24
“Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

There is a common misconception that we, as Christians are called to a life of perpetual suffering and hardship with just sacrifices and tears. How wrong and far away from the truth could this understanding be? As children of God, saved by grace through His blood, we are called to rejoice. As Paul says in his letter to the Philippians in chapter 4, verse 4 “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, Rejoice”. Now comes the important question, in this turbulent and fragile world, what is there to celebrate? There are several reasons for the celebration of life, few of which I have mentioned below. Firstly, the most important reason to celebrate is because of our Lord – the giver of our life and Jesus – the provider of our salvation. As the title verse says, heaven rejoices and celebrates the return of a sinner. The person is cleansed from within, he is made into a new being and the world around him becomes a better place in the long run because he is given the love and joy to change his situations, circumstances and the people around.

Secondly, we celebrate the salvation of the people around us – our brothers and sisters in Christ. In the story of the prodigal son, when he returns home, the father urges his elder son and everyone of the household to celebrate the coming-home of their lost brother. In the same way, we should be able to celebrate the salvation of the people around us. The joy of being one with our saviour in this world and the next, it just doesn’t get better that this.

Next, we ought to indisputably celebrate God’s goodness and His mercies that are new every morning. Even though we encounter trials and tribulations in our journey of life, God’s promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us is reason enough to celebrate. To an atheist or an agnostic who questions what there is to be so thankful about in this sad, dreary and dismal world, a believer’s answer is simple. The very air that we breath, the fact that we are able to breath that air, that we are alive and healthy, the assurance that Father God will always be with us even when we pass through the most difficult point of our lives are all reasons to celebrate this life and the giver of this life. To be able to see God’s goodness in the little things – may it be a flower in full bloom, the smile of a newborn, a bear hug from a close friend, a silent smile of a loved one, a gentle breeze on a hot summer day, a patch of sunshine on a cold winter morning, loving family members,

unexpected joys at work or just feeling happy for no reason whatsoever, these are all small but very profound reasons to celebrate life as our father God intended us to. In short, as the famous television celebrity Oprah Winfrey correctly summarizes, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

Now having established that celebration of life is a very Christian way of living, the next important question is how do we celebrate life? As children of God called and separated to live a life of holiness, can we join the world as they celebrate things in sin? Absolutely not! For us, celebration of life revolves around the celebration of our creator. To worship God and celebrate Him like He asks us to we must be willing to surrender ourselves daily to make Christ the center of our lives. You do this by daily submitting to Him in prayer and soaking your mind in His word. Just coming to church does not automatically make you a true worshipper. A man or woman that really worships God with their life, everyday, in every circumstance is a man or woman that is authentically following Christ. They are grounded in who God is and that knowledge affects every area of their lives. Praising God and living a righteous life is one way of celebrating our lives. Secondly, we can partake in this grand celebration of life simply by enjoying every moment of our God-given lives. Being able to find that inner joy and reveling in it even in times of trouble is a very good way of telling the world that you celebrate life no matter what your physical circumstance is. The joy that Jesus provides touches your soul and external factors will not be able to hamper that whatever happens. The positive energy of a believer spreads good cheer and vibes of celebration not just to himself but also to the people around, to the society he is a part of and in the bigger picture, the world.

This brings us to our third and arguably an equally important way of celebrating our lives. We shouldn’t stop just by spreading our good vibes and positive energy to the people around. We should be able to share more of our lives and good fortune with the less-privileged. It may be as simple as taking the time to call someone who is ill or lonely and listening to their story, or apologizing to someone you have wronged in any way. From sharing a meal with the inhabitants of a care home, to anonymously sponsoring the education of a poor child, from sacrificing a luxury so that street children could have a second pair of clothes to volunteering to help out in the nearby medical centre, there is no dearth to the amount of help and support we can provide to the unfortunate of our society. This way we are not only celebrating our good fortune but also giving them a chance to celebrate a good moment in their lives.

As famous writer Wanda E. Brunstetter says, “Remember as you go about your day that you may be the only Jesus some of your friends, neighbours and family

will ever see.” So, it is up to us to celebrate our lives in such a manner that brings glory to our Father in heaven. Celebration of life is inherent in all of us. Acknowledging our Christian values and reason of salvation to celebrate our life just gives us more inspiration to live the way God wants us to and enjoy every moment to its fullest. Praising God in all we do for all his goodness and by sharing God’s love to the less privileged, we proclaim the love of Lord Jesus and celebrate His life through us. Let us be ever thankful for all the good things in our lives and always look out for reasons, however big or small to celebrate our lives, rejoice and be glad in the day and world the Lord has made.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

About Dhanya Elza Mathew

Secretary of San Francisco Mar Thoma Yuvajana Sakhyam & Young Family Fellowship - 2020 | MS/HS Math Teacher | Blessed beyond measure!