“Let’s have a party!” There can be a real pause when we hear those words in Christian circles, but there doesn’t need to be. Of course the culture’s idea of a party and ours will look different, but gathering in celebration was not only practiced in bible times, but anticipated as well.
Celebrations were part of their culture as well. There was the gathering of family and friends to celebrate weddings, appointed feasts to the Lord, and my favourite, when Christ came over. I love to think of all those times when Christ gathered with His followers and reclined around a table and ate with them. It’s amazing to ponder how this intimate, although no doubt often crowded gathering became a celebration of God’s faith and mercy with the presence Christ Jesus Himself. (Luke 5:29)
Celebrations are not limited to mankind either. In the parable of the lost sheep the Lord describes a heavenly celebration. ”I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:6b) In the parable of the prodigal son, when the wayward son returns everyone is invited to rejoice together, “…the father said to his servants ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:22-24) Joy invites celebration.
So what is my point? Let us not get so bogged down by regulation and self-discipline to the degree that we forget to celebrate when celebration is called for. Of course we will need the Spirit to continue to guide us in all things, including our food choices. When offered a variety of options, we will choose the best. As we walk the fine line between indulgence and legalism, we must remember that we are called to walk a different path, that of freedom in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 5:1)
Today, let us celebrate our new life in Christ. Let us cast to His feet the heavy shackles of legalism and self-indulgence that He came to unlock, and instead look to our gracious Lord. Let Christ renew our minds, our hearts, and our souls, so that we can walk this life in freedom, anticipating the best of all celebrations. As the Lord tells us in Revelation 19:9, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb “. The invitation was given to us at the cross. Let’s get ready to CELEBRATE!