Reaching corporate goals, celebrating life, births or anniversaries; hey I’m sure you have partied with the best of them! Our attitude towards celebrations can easily become nonchalant or one of entitlement. It is easy to get into a routine of celebrating in the same manner year after year without helping attendees connect with your reason for celebrating.
The scripture is replete with instances of celebrations. When the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, Miriam, the sister of Moses took a tambourine and led the women in a choreographed dance (Exodus 14-15:21) as she sang about the miracle of crossing the Red Sea. I can hear her now saying, “What a wonder God has wrought. My mistress gave me Jimmy Choos as I left her house. When I reached the crossing, I was upset. My Jimmy Choos would be destroyed! Look at God! He went before me and made a way! When it looked like things were too much for me He made a way! God dried up the path. I didn’t get a scuff of my fabulous shoes!”
I hear your chuckles and giggles. In a similar manner, you or I would probably spontaneously move out if we heard a few bars of The Electric Slide or Cupid Shuffle. Like Miriam, no doubt we would be on the floor dancing with abandon, yet not sensually. With Joy in our heart, laughing, reminiscing with our girls! Talking to one another over the music, you can hear tales of woe, songs of deliverance as we danced with greater abandon due to the newfound freedom!
Another instance of celebration in scripture is the wedding at Cana of Galilee. (John 2: 1-11). Jesus’ mother seems to have been involved in wedding planning. Mary accosts Jesus to produce more wine. He seems to blow her off, but she would not be denied her request. Mary instructs the servants to follow the instructions of Jesus to the letter. At Jesus’ command, wine is taken to the Governor of the Feast who immediately declares that the best wine was saved for last.
No doubt, more wine, would mean more merriment as the wedding party waits to view the token of virginity– the blood-stained sheet of the consummation of the marriage covenant. As the sheet flies from the window, shouts rise from the bride’s family, the governor of the feast announces more wine, the music soars and everyone dances in whirling circles celebrating with their friends.
In 2011 I was recuperating from multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. I was on the third year of treatment. I had been deathly ill as the treatment was extremely toxic. Despite the prayers of the saints and my daily confessions and petitions, I seemed to remain at a standstill. I asked the staff at my church to help me have a party to celebrate life. That year I hosted a little black dress party, supported a local agency that supports families challenged with intimate partner violence, gave away gifts, ate fabulously delicious food, learned a few things to improve my health, laughed and danced with my girls, women in my church, and my circle of First Lady Friends.
Remembering is important. Retelling the story imprints the memory for posterity. Your children’s children need to know why you commemorate certain days and the significance of their participation in the celebration. The generational transfer of knowledge is facilitated by rituals, photographs, books, and the telling of the story. Be bold tell the story! Commemorate the event! Allow the power of celebration to work for you as you build your family, tribe, and clan.