Only the most dedicated Scrooges among us are unwilling to celebrate, anything, period. (Even the bad guys, the Blue Meanies and Darth Vadars and Tolkien Orcs, exult in the results of their destruction!) But most of us have a lower “celebration threshold” than that.
Exploring the Word
When was the last time you got really excited about something? Children find such a question easier to answer. They get excited about snow falling. Or an unexpected day off from school. Kids get excited about a test being canceled, a favorite show starting on TV, a grandparent showing up on the doorstep, finding a brightly colored leaf on the sidewalk.
"Truth, Justice, and the American Way”—many of us thrilled to the sound of those words narrated over the opening credits of the old Superman series. Sure, it was schlocky and idealistic, but sometimes such ideas have the power to stir us as much as any serious, reasoned argument, perhaps more!
Back in high school—and who knows, maybe in high schools even today—love was defined by carving two sets of initials into a locker, a tree, or a park bench. I had a friend who preferred the less permanent approach: She wrote them in ink on the rubber part of her sneakers.
How do you know that something or someone is successful? You go by the numbers! An organization that attracts 20 members is better than one with only five. A person making a six-figure salary is doing well compared with someone earning minimum wage.
It is hard to persuade someone that genuine power lies in weakness. Try telling that to the world’s sole remaining superpower! As a culture we are spoon-fed on the idea that strength lies in military heft and financial imperviousness.
Maybe one of the biggest problems we have with religion is that the whole business is far too “spiritual.” When something important to us can’t even be held in our hands, we begin to doubt how crucial it is.
Let’s all go live in the early church! What a delightful community that was: the apostles as teachers, continual fervent prayer, and the meaningful breaking of bread. Awe came upon everyone, we are told; signs and wonders were commonplace. No one had more than they needed, and no one had less.
Sooner or later, you and I end up visiting the cemetery. The older we get, the more personal significance such visits have for us. More names on the headstones are familiar. We begin to count off the funerals we’ve been to. We remember the good old times with people we knew and maybe some last words.
Our experience of life can be very full. Each day seems jam-packed with things we have to do, places we are expected to be, relationships we are responsible for. Even when something causes an interruption to this flow of activity—say, illness or accident, or something more benign like vacation or retirement—we quickly fill up our time with a whole new set of concerns.