Why Christians Should Party More

"Luncheon of the Boating Party" by Renoir on Wikipedia via Creative Commons

“Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Renoir on Wikipedia via Creative Commons

A few weeks ago in my weekly Bible study we were checking out Leviticus 23, a chapter outlining all of the parties the Jewish people were told by God to celebrate. It starts with the Sabbath, one day a week when no work was to be done. The Sabbath’s received some bad press in Christian circles, but it really is a beautiful concept. One day a week to trust the world to God and spend the day enjoying friends, family, food, rest and good sex for those married folks.

Then the rest of the festivals of the year are presented, and there are a lot of them. Entire weeks of feasting and drinking and resting, always with an eye to including Yahweh in the good times. Looking at it all from a post-Puritan Christian brain it all seems a little backwards. One friend even posed the question like this: they had one day a year of mandatory fasting and like sixty days of mandatory partying, while we have something like seventy days devoted to fasting (Lent and Advent) and two days to party (Easter and Christmas). What gives?

Some other friends have made it a priority in their family budget to work in parties, and their parties are epic. They are arranged around the season changes and people dance and drink and get engaged. It’s a crazy good time, and if you stay late enough into the night you are rewarded with meaningful conversation about God and each other and the mysteries of life.

Parties overwhelm me. More than a few people and I go into a weird sensory overload, and unless I am in a very specific state of mind I mostly want to melt into the walls. I leave most social gatherings beating myself up for this stupid comment and that lame joke. But sometimes, when the setting is right and there’s that sense of purpose to the situation, I can feel something akin to joy. As a melancholy type I am not overly familiar with joy, but I think that’s what it is.

How do we make celebration a deeper, wider, more prominent part of our lives and faiths? As we start heading down the slippery slope of American holiday season I want to be mindful of all the ways God’s people are called to celebrate. Maybe we can be the ones giving out the full-size candy bars at Halloween. Maybe November can actually be a time of reflecting on all the blessings in our lives, and finding ways to enjoy them. December could be more about time looking into the faces of people we love than staring down checkout lines. The New Year might be a season of reflection, of a yearly Sabbath where we entrust the labors of last year and the hopes of the coming year all to the capable hands of God. Springtime can be a time to celebrate life from death in a million different ways. One day a week for the rest of our lives could be spent basking in the Kingdom of God that’s already come here to earth and manifest itself all around us.

How do you celebrate in your life? In your faith? Would genuinely love responses to this one.

1 Comment

  1. Vicky said,

    October 26, 2013 at 11:10 am

    We go to the parties you mention! We also make sure that traditions in our house have meaning behind them. Family game nights, movie nights, even communion are ways we try to remember that we have so much to celebrate. These things remind us that life is good because of who gave it to us.

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