Every year around this time, I host a Christmas in July party. I decorate my home, put up a couple Christmas trees, cook a turkey and ham, and invite friends to bring a favorite family holiday dish and a gift for a white elephant exchange. What I love about hosting this party is the true Christmas cheer that comes with it. It’s that feeling we have around the holidays when everything feels a little cozier and a little more magical because we gather together in love and joy and hope. I am a firm believer in celebrations because they remind us of what is most important - the people with whom we choose to share special moments in our lives and highlights in our faith. The more we make time to join together in these ways, the more connected we feel to each other and the more love, joy, and hope we invite into our lives.
I believe this is why God encourages us to remember the Sabbath, the Passover, the Resurrection, the birth of Christ in celebration. Our God knows the value in stepping out of the mundane routines of our lives to come together over food and traditions. There is extraordinary power in fixing our eyes on the Divine presence that seeps into every joyous thing in our lives, if we simply attend to it with intention.
I love Paul’s thoughts on this in his letter to the Philippians:
“Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let your joy overflow! And let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near.
Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Put into practice the example of all that you have heard from me or seen in my life and the God of peace will be with you in all things.” (v. 4-5, 8-9 TPT)
This is your invitation to find something to celebrate this weekend. Perhaps you already have a Birthday or Wedding to celebrate - some big occasion. Or perhaps you are being called to celebrate a smaller, but no less important thing - waking up early with a loved one to watch the Sunrise that reminds us we are gifted another day or grabbing ice cream with a friend because she got a new job. In all these things, be cheerful and joyous, fixing your thoughts on all that is beautiful and glorious.