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by Mariali @ DaySpring January 8, 2016
Have you ever had a surprise birthday thrown in your honor? Or perhaps it was Mother’s Day and your kids greeted you with breakfast in bed? As a culture, we get used to only celebrating certain people during holidays or on special occasions, but if we look to Scripture and how God encourages us to celebrate one another, we see that these opportunities to honor people around us can happen every single day! It doesn’t take a holiday or a special day to have a good excuse to celebrate.
Every day, someone has a birthday, someone has a baby, and someone has an anniversary, but every day, someone has also achieved a personal goal, someone has overcome a challenge, and someone has forgotten how lovely she is in God’s eyes. As I think about how God has called us to love one another, I recognize that in the business of our lives, the world’s distractions get in the way. They keep us from having our eyes open to opportunities to extend God’s love to others in simple, but meaningful ways throughout our day. It takes an intentional effort to allow the Holy Spirit to point out ways we can celebrate people around us and honor others above ourselves.
There are two specific verses in Romans 12 that stand out to me where Paul highlights the importance of celebrating one another. He says in verse 10, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Then, in verse 15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice…” Let’s be truthful, if there is a joy deficiency in our own hearts, we might find it hard to rejoice with those who rejoice when we are facing challenges in our own lives. But, as we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with His joy, here are 7 simple ways we can celebrate others and rejoice with those who rejoice:
You might know someone who just had a baby, but the new responsibilities make it challenging for them to do simple things like preparing a meal. I love blessing new mothers with a meal for their new family, but I love even more sending a faith message along with it. These cute paper plates and trays are a fun way to brighten someone’s meal! This same gesture can be done to help out a single working mother or an elderly neighbor. Just ask the Lord who might need a little joy and would be blessed with an unexpected meal this week.
Sometimes we can all forget our value in God’s eyes over time. But how neat would it be if we constantly celebrated each other by reminding ourselves that God loves us even in our everyday mundane. He doesn’t just celebrate us when we have a special occasion or achieve something grand. Zephaniah 3:17 says he rejoices over us with singing! Guess what? That’s just because He made us and we are made in His image and He knows how valuable we are! So bring some joy to someone that may have forgotten to rejoice lately by throwing a small party in their honor, or baking them their favorite dessert, or just sending them a card expressing how valuable they are to you.
So we all love to celebrate birthdays (and that’s great!), but what if you decided to celebrate someone else’s life on a day they’re not expecting? I remember having a tough week at work one time and a lovely coworker totally brought joy to my day with a plateful of chocolate-covered strawberries and a beautiful, encouraging card. Maybe you can bake some cupcakes for a kid in your class that doesn’t get noticed much, or send some flowers to your daughter in college.
Most of us expect celebrations when someone graduates or buys a home, but what if we celebrated smaller milestones too? Maybe your toddler finally conquered potty-training, or your child has done all his chores for an entire month, or your sister had the courage to learn a new skill. Be creative and think of the little things you can celebrate in the lives of people around you. The more we encourage one another, the more we’ll be releasing the heart of God for others and who knows what amazing ministry opportunities that could lead to!
Let’s face it, most of us like quick results and microwave-speed answers, but there are some things we can’t obtain any other way than by waiting and being faithful. Imagine if we started celebrating someone being faithful in following the Lord in spite of external pressures, or maybe your child has been working hard on overcoming selfishness, or a friend has not given up on volunteering at her youth ministry. These kinds of achievements are often overlooked by others, but they are worth celebrating too.
Life has its twists and turns and many times will take us in and out of people’s lives as people relocate, pursue new adventures or have new responsibilities. Life’s celebrations are a great excuse to reconnect and rebuild an old friendship, though. Invite a friend for dessert or a movie night, or plan a fun trip to a place you both love. Investing in people always has great return, so think of an old friend that you can reconnect with and share in the joys of friendship.
These days, it’s all about being connected on social media. With so much junk floating around on the internet, why not take the time to fill your friends’ social media pages with encouragement? I love browsing through the eCard Studio for beautiful and encouraging eCards to post on my friends’ walls. When Facebook reminds me of my friends’ birthdays, or when their status changes to ‘engaged’ or ‘married’, or when an old coworker gets a promotion, I can rejoice with them by posting an eCard on their wall and offering public accolades.
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