Tag Archive: celebration


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  [Søren Kierkegaard]

i had this idea for a blog series on looking backwards to move forwards well, and have a few ideas of what to write on and maybe more will materialise as i go…

often we think of the past with a negative light in terms of missed opportunities or  things done to us or perhaps people we might have hurt or disappointed or maybe baggage we carry from broken relationships, and this stuff can really weigh us down and also cause a lot of damage to our present and future and so i believe it is really helpful to take a look backwards in a positive light and see if there is anything we can or need to do, to help us live more fully now and beyond.

i think a great place to begin will be to focus on CELEBRATION.

‘Bring the past only if you are going to build from it.’ [Doménico Cieri Estrada]

i like that quote cos i think it sums up exactly what i am imagining with this series… but one way the past can be really helpful for us is when we take time to celebrate… people who have been meaningful to us [and i will go into this one in more depth in a future post], events that have been significant, moments when God really pitched up in a tangible way that encouraged and inspired or brought life transformation for us, achievements or accomplishments [those of ourselves but especially those of the people around us] and i imagine a lot more.

i think any time we get stuck in the past it is likely to be a negative thing and that can happen with celebrations as well – if the story we are constantly celebrating of what God has done in and through us is a story from ten years ago for example, then perhaps it is time for a new story… and possibly the new story hasn’t happened because we haven’t taken our eyes off all the goodness that might have been linked to the last one…

but take time to celebrate! in the Bible the Israelites often built altars to God as a reminder when a significant event had happened like the crossing of the Red Sea for example. it was like a memorial to God’s greatness and every time they saw it again they were reminded that there was a reason for celebrating God in that place.

so i want to encourage you to make time regularly to interrupt the busyness of life and just stop. and reflect. and remember. and smile. 

write someone an email. send a friend overseas a postcard or a small gift, compose a poem, song or spoken word piece to God… whatever it is, join with Doménico Cieri Estrada in bringing the past only if you are going to build from it.

[for the next part in the ‘Back to your future’ series, this time focusing on being thankful for the people in your life, click here]

bttfposter

one day you will be old. and then dead. hopefully in that order. preferably without skipping the first part.

and a lot has been said about that… like the much shared list of top 5 regrets of the dying according to a nurse who hung out with a lot of dying people and got to hear a list of their regrets apparently [no Patch Adams noodle baths from this fun lady it seems] and these are the top 5 that emerged:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

we were also given that Baz Luhrmann ‘Sunscreen’ song/speech that reminded us of the long term benefits of wearing sunscreen, which contained such gems as:

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.

And then one of the most classical of them all:

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

And on it goes – lists about climbing more mountains, picking more flowers, taking less photographs and living more in the moments you are capturing and so on…

Which is all great and important and true but can end up being another overwhelming set of ideals and wish lists and if onlys that you never actually really get to and will one day end up on your regret list.

So what do i want to suggest?

2 simple things – CELEBRATION and GRATITUDE:

The title of this post is ‘What do you celebrate as your head hits the pillow?’ – I remember one year where i kept a journal for a whole year and all that i wrote in it was at the end of each day one thing that i was grateful for from that day. From as simple as a friendly note from a friend on Facebook to something more powerful like witnessing life transformation in a friend or an answer to prayer or being able to resist temptation in a moment. Being intentional about taking a moment to stop in your day and celebrate a win or a thing to be grateful for. There is always one thing.

The second one has been noticing in tbV’s Facebook feed this last week or two what has felt like an intentional daily or close-to-daily moment of ‘Today i am grateful for…’ and usually a list of two to seven things that she has gratitude for on this particular day. i have found this so encouraging and it spurs me to consider my own list every time.

Regret is such a useless emotion/feeling/state because it accomplishes nothing except making you feel like a tit. And i don’t know anyone who enjoys that feeling particularly. So rather replace it with celebration and gratitude, even just of the small things that are worth celebrating and you might be amazed at how the bigger picture starts to be affected as well.

What will you celebrate tonight as your head hits the pillow? Take a minute and share one thing below in the comments that you are grateful for. Let it start here. 

Wow, this is a great little psalm – just a delightful praise-filled mantra, but there were one or two lines which really jumped out at me:

verse 9 reads, ‘Within your temple, O God,  we meditate on your unfailing love.’

if you read the second half of the Bible carefully, you quickly find out that God’s temple is us – the Holy Spirit of Jesus resides in us, guiding and nudging and pointing us back towards God…

and so in that temple [within ourselves] we should be meditating on the Father’s unfailing Love.

we had dinner with friends of ours last night and were talking about some of the things we had loved about our time with the Simple Way in Philadelphia and one of those was the morning prayer times we did monday to friday. we were introduced to a form of liturgy we were not used to and for that reason perhaps really grew to like it as a different expression of worship to God. [you can access some of what we did in the book of Common Prayer on the commonprayer.net website which i was exploring before we went over]

last night we spoke about how a lot of people don’t meditate on God a lot – it’s the ‘be still and KNOW that i am God’ of psalm 46 – and it is a great ongoing reminder that this story is all about Him and not us [how we do like to think it is!] and so creating places to stop and just be still and know and then also to meditate, deeply experience and feel and think upon, on His Love which is unfailing.

i also really enjoyed the ending to this psalm:

Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts,
    view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.

For this God is our God for ever and ever;
    he will be our guide even to the end.

[verse 12-14]

for me it’s the reminder to talk it all in, to remember, drink it in and soak in the goodness of God right now so that when there is a time when God may not feel so good [and there will be] you will be reminded of times past and be able to continue telling the victorious stories[which are often all that keeps us going when times are hard] – it just feels like such a triumphant victorious and celebrationary ending to this testament of praise.

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

my wife and i love children!

other peoples! we love the bit where we get to give them back afterwards. and then return to our childrenless lair.

[okay, it’s not quite a lair, more an intentional community house in the inner city area of kensington, philadelphia… but still, no children living with us in the house at this particular point in time]

so kind of like a choose-your-own-[children]-adventure of sorts – we get to decide when they’re around and get to retreat when they get a little too much for us, or if we just want a break.

and then there was the time i went and watched ‘Scream’ at the local movie house… only problem is, i was trying to watch ‘The Avengers’ at the time… fortunately all that action happened during the trailers and the child was stopped or removed or something before the film began, but it definitely felt like a place that needed to go on a list of places particularly loud and screamery kids are not all that welcome at.

i imagine if you are a parent of a young child [not ‘kid’, you say ‘kid’ and the goat people get riled!] that idea will make you just a little bit sad, and i get that, or at least i would if i wasn’t being so distracted by all the people without children who have all jumped to their feet and burst into spontaneous applause.

because it is a topical issue right? and one, which i imagine for the most part, will have people-with-children on the one side and people-without-children on the other. there will be some exceptions, but i am guessing there will not be too many people-with-children clamouring for more childrenless environments and not too many people with no children whining about the lack of screaming and general chaos in said areas.

“children should be seen and not heard” – for the most part i don’t like that one – especially in places where celebration is happening like at a wedding or in a church service or at a party, i think that a certain messiness adds life to the occasion and i am all for a little bit of hum, or laughter or childlikery. but it is when it crosses the line and becomes a baby crying or a tantrum being thrown where i do appreciate a parent who acts quickly and decisively.

“children should be seen and not herded” – that feels more true – how does the saying go? ‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, call a child a kid and some old person slash teacher slash grammar police sergeant will charge in brandishing their “kids are children of goats, you are talking about children which are children of people” sign…’ Maybe not be an actual saying, but it should be!

for me i think the chief point is distraction – if the noise/actions of the child begin to take away from the focus of whatever the event is that you are attending, that is where it becomes a problem. the rising muttering and angry stares being flashed in your direction you should receive as a clue.

so for most happenings of a celebrationary nature, let the little children come to me i say… until they start whining, that is… or fighting, or smelling… then let the little children come to you…

what do you think? [and tell us if you have children or not before commenting]

and that ‘c’ stands for ‘creativity’ – so whether it is a way of celebrating family or looking after someone who is seen as a ‘the least of these’ let us be looking for ways to go beyond the typical commercial aspects of the season…

and send your ideas of stuff done or stuff plotting to be done to brettfish@hotmail.com:

Pete and Bev Brodrick:

Remembrance Lunch:

A second family gathering for a celebration lunch/dinner with the table set, decorations, communion elements and yes all the party ra-ra stuff.

We have communion together as a family, remembering Jesus birth, life and death. A set occasion for us to gather as a family and bring our lives back to the foot of the cross in worship and prayer. We then celebrate with a feast and treats! We have this Remembrance lunch every 3 months (March/April, June, September & December) so one just happens to co-incide at this time.

and that ‘c’ stands for ‘creativity’ – moving beyond spending a bunch of money you can’t afford on a bunch of stuff no-one needs [and often doesn’t even want] because of some kind of misplaced notion that it is ‘showing love’ when there are people you know, or live near, or try to ignore, who are likely to be having a very miserable holiday time and your act of creativity in the form of generosity or genuine love could make a world of difference…

so be challenged and if you have a creative idea to share here please do, because so far i have two from my friends bev and pete and that’s it – share stories with me [brettfish@hotmail.com] of what you’ve done in the past or are plotting to do:

Bev and Pete Brodrick: “As briefly mentioned, our family has developed some alternate traditions for this time of year.

We love the fact that there is just so much more opportunity to give in December. The list is endless and everyone seems to be more generous over this time. Wahoo.

Our family has 2 major events. Both events we will try to invite people that we may not see as often and open up our table for those who may have no where to go.

End of Year family celebration:

A family gathering, lunch or dinner, with a theme, decorations, set table and party ra-ra stuff.

In preparation for this event we think back over the year and remember all those that we appreciate. We send cards and give gifts in thanks and in love. Whether that is a close friend or a grocery store staff member who has helped carry groceries to the car, more times than we can count.

On the day, our family will spend time affirming one another and reading out the things that we appreciate about each other and we give each other an appreciation gift. We then celebrate with a family feast and treats!

[to be continued…]

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