In college, my group of friends was all about reading Richard Foster and Henri Nouwen. We would take retreats, pray the Hours, and share our favorite stories of Celtic monks. Living in Paris, the spiritual discipline I most longed for was solitude. Especially after reading Out of Solitude, I would schedule days by myself. Having a roommate, living in a big city, and being part of an active community meant little time for myself. I found a park just outside the city and would pack a lunch, bring some books and schoolwork, and go for the day, just enjoying the closest thing to nature that French landscape architecture had to offer.
Solitude is still a valued discipline and one I never feel I have enough of. However, reading through Celebration of Discipline again, now I am most drawn to the discipline of celebration. Without the foundation of joy, without the reminder that Jesus’ mission was one of redemption, all the other disciplines fall a bit flat.
I am reminded that at the end of Lent is Easter! Advent leads to Christmas! I remember that Jesus revealed the mystery of himself through the Feast at Cana, the Return of the Prodigal Son, and even in the Last Supper – something we view as a completely solemn event, but I’m sure there was laughter mingled with the seriousness. Jesus is present when we celebrate, when we take the time to gather and join in community.
It made me think about how I can celebrate more – to go beyond birthdays and milestones and calendar events. Reflecting about the discipline of celebration made me want to be the type of parent who has fun party supplies on hand so that we can celebrate the first hyacinth of spring, the last day of tax season, and a million other mundane celebrations that are only applicable to our family.
In a broader sense, I also wonder how I can celebrate those around me with more intention. In this spirit of celebration, how can I throw more dinner parties and brunches just because, how can I discover and celebrate my friend’s small victories?
Watching Bea interact with her world, I am reminded of the ease in which children celebrate life. She knows that the snow must be melted from her picnic table before she can eat her snack outside. No matter the temperature, if the snow has melted, she insists on celebrating a clear day by eating al fresco. Even the often redundant play of tea party after tea party reminds me that she is wired to celebrate – to have a party.
Thinking about how I read the news and books and respond to events, I wonder how things would change if I practiced the discipline of celebration as I connected with the world? How would I view foreign policy decisions if I read through a lens of celebration? How would I learn about social justice and restorative processes if I remembered that the root could be celebration? How might opportunities for redemption arise if I viewed connections and interactions through a lens of celebration? I wonder how much my world would change. How might a life of celebration empower me to seek redemption?
Maybe it’s the spring weather that makes me more naturally look for reasons to celebrate but my goal for this upcoming season is to follow through with celebration. I want to open my home, practice using a lens of celebration, and remember to celebrate all I can with my community.
Which spiritual discipline do you most connect with? Do you often stop to celebrate the mundane?
Linked with The High Calling’s theme of spiritual discipline.