All throughout history, people have marked great advances, victories, and momentous occasions with celebration—some of which continue till today, such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, promotions, and Easter and Christmas.
For us who are Christians, knowing God brings deep and lasting joy. We have constant and eternal cause for celebration. In fact, we will celebrate eternally in heaven.
Besides the wonderful gift of salvation, life provides many other reasons to celebrate. Even small things are worthy of celebration, because celebration boosts morale. And besides the fun, there is great value in the act of celebrating.
Here are five benefits of celebrating.
Celebration acknowledges and testifies of God’s goodness.
It’s spiritually healthy to think about things that are good, and the Bible instructs us to keep our thoughts centered on the good: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”1
We live fast-paced lives with numerous challenges, and as we go from one thing to the next, it can be easy to overlook or forget about the good things, the lovely things, the wonderful and notable things that are happening and that can be celebrated. It’s easy to get caught up in the many mundane affairs of this world and lose sight of God’s goodness.
Someone once told me, “As soon as I cross one thing off my list, three more take its place!” Isn’t that the truth? The temptation is to run faster and try to fit more in. But that’s not the answer. As the classic quote says, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Celebrating good news, accomplishments, victories, and breakthroughs increases your faith. It also serves as a testimony of the wonderful things that God is doing for you and others. Most people are happy to see others doing well, and the Bible tells us to rejoice in the joys and good fortune of others. “Rejoice with those who rejoice.”2
Celebration acknowledges the accomplishments and milestones that you or others have attained.
When you’ve achieved a goal in your life, it’s important to have someone to share that with. That can be as simple as telling a friend over the phone or via chat, or posting your good news on social media.
Sometimes I hear about friends or acquaintances of mine who are making a lot of progress, crossing milestones in their lives. I know it’s costing them a lot and that they’ve worked hard to get there, and I hope they’re stopping to take a deep breath and appreciate their success.
Everyone needs recognition and appreciation for their efforts. It’s worth stopping the frantic pace to honor a win in your life or the life of one of your loved ones. It’s worth carving out a little time to acknowledge and appreciate what you or someone has accomplished.
Celebration provides a natural pause between projects in our busy lives.
Celebration helps you to reflect on how far you’ve come. If you don’t pause to appreciate and celebrate when you’ve come to the end of one project or had a particular win, before you know it, the joy of the win or accomplishment will be buried beneath your new to-do list.
When you work very hard for something, you should stop and bask at least a little while in the knowledge that you completed the task. You made it. You did it! You reached the goal, and by celebrating you are more likely to fully realize that all you expended in the form of time, energy, hard work, finances, etc., was worth it. Your investment paid off.
Catalog your successes and wins.
When you’re climbing a mountain and you’ve been at it for hours, and you’re tired and achy, it can help to look down the mountain and see how far you’ve come. The same applies to your life goals. Measuring or tracking your progress provides a sense of satisfaction and conclusion. It also bolsters your confidence that you’ll make it to the next marker and eventually reach your goal.
It’s pretty easy to remember what you did last week or last month, but as the months fly by, it can be pretty difficult to recall all the hurdles you had to jump to reach the finish line of your goal. But those very hurdles that you overcame are the wins that deserve celebrating and remembering, and for some of us, the way to remember something is to write it down.
If you jot down those accomplishments, in a few months or a year you’ll probably be surprised to see just how much you’ve actually done. Like counting your blessings, counting your wins or steps of progress will serve as a boost to your faith.
It’s good to revel in a win, even if it’s a small one. And when you acknowledge that something you or someone else did went well and was successful, that boosts your self-confidence and self-esteem for the next thing that you’ll tackle. This tactic is especially important when it comes to children’s accomplishments and progress.
Celebration provides a “carrot” to look forward to when you complete a project or reach a goal.
It can be powerful to have something to look forward to. If you know you’re going to celebrate, anticipating the joy or fun you’ll have can give you the oomph that you need to get over the finish line. Some people set rewards or perks for themselves ahead of time, things that they particularly enjoy and can look forward to as they slog through a grueling job or part of a project.
God made human beings to celebrate. He instructed us to praise Him, to glorify Him for the wonderful things He has done, to “magnify Him with thanksgiving.”3 That’s a command to celebrate!
Even God celebrates. When He created the world, it says, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. … So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”4 If even God can take time to look over His handiwork and rest from His labors, surely we can make time for it too.
You might ask, What about when things aren’t going well? Even if you don’t have anything monumental to celebrate, you can dig a little deeper to seek out that hidden “celebratory jewel,” even something that happens on a regular basis that you’ve never taken the time to specifically celebrate.
I read this story by Mike Robbins a few days ago, and it stood out to me:
I was in a cab in Houston a few years ago, heading back to the airport after speaking at an event for Chevron. The cab driver and I got into an interesting conversation about life, family, and the state of our culture in America. The driver told me he was from Ethiopia originally, but had been living in the United States for about twenty years.
I asked him, “What’s your take on American culture, given that you didn’t grow up here.” He paused for a long time; then asked me, “Can I be honest with you?” I said, “Of course.” He then said, “I think most people in this culture act like spoiled brats.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked, a bit surprised by his response.
“Mike,” he said, “I’m from Ethiopia! Every day here is a good day! I don’t understand why people just don’t walk around here with their hands in the air saying ‘THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!’”5
Isn’t that true? Especially for those of us who know God, we should be walking around with our hands in the air, saying “thank you” to Him over and over again, because we’re so blessed.