Relentless Celebration in the Face of Sorrow & Struggle

How do we learn to celebrate?

My childhood was full of celebration. Mom would tint our cream of rice pink for Valentine’s Day and green for St. Patricks Day. She’d make special bunny and baby chick shaped rolls for Easter. She’d show up at our tent door with stacks of pancakes when my little brother and I woke after a night of camping on the beach, celebrating the goodness of summer.

After my dad was in a terrible car accident, which took him months to recover from, she made a very special cake.

We learn to celebrate by seeing the process in action.

So how do we make celebration part of our lives?

It’s All About Celebrating the Rescue

There’s an incredible story of God’s rescue of the Jewish people from destruction and death in the book of Esther. [If you’d like, you can read the whole story here — 10 chapters.]

These are the verses I’d especially love to look at — Esther 9:20-23.

“Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration.

He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.

So the Jews agreed to continue the celebration they had begun, doing what Mordecai had written to them.”

An Awesome Way to Celebrate:

These people faced sorrow and mourning.
They were granted relief.
Their sadness and grief turned to JOY and CELEBRATION.

They celebrated. Oh did they celebrate. With FEASTING and JOY.

They gave presents of FOOD to one another…

and GIFTS to the poor.

The celebration continued year after year, after year.

The celebration is a REMINDER of the God who provides rescue.

So although this is their story, it is also ours.

How to Celebrate Your Rescue:

What’s been causing you sorrow? Could it be that rescue is right around the corner?

Look back on your life and record the times you’ve been granted relief. Write or think about situations that HAVE worked out for the best. Worked for your good and your joy.

Because when the destruction comes and sorrow is pounding on your door it’s time to remember the rescue. It’s time to turn on the oven, bake something, and share it with others. It’s time to share bountiful gifts with those who desperately need it.

It’s time to celebrate the win that’s on it’s way.

With a meal.

With graciousness to those in need.

Here are some recipes to get you started:

Recipe Links: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

What’s worked out for your good? What will you celebrate this week?

6 comments… add one

  • Relyn August 21, 2014, 3:35 pm

    This is a beautiful reminder from a beautiful heart. Thank you for the reminder that sorrow always turns to joy when we serve.

    • Alysa August 21, 2014, 4:28 pm

      Aw – thanks for the kind words Relyn. That’s an incredible way to put it! “Sorrow turns to joy when we serve.”

  • Merritt August 21, 2014, 4:49 pm

    This was so timely Alysa. I was just reading in the book “Redemption” about how the expulsive power of a new affection is what must replace the idols in our lives. Meaning, what once was an idol doesn’t just go away by sheer will. Instead, we must replace it with something. We must “expel” what’s there with a new affection…for God, of course, instead of the deep idols that try to rule our hearts.

    I hear you saying the same thing here. When sorrow comes, we have a choice to dwell in it or to serve others and celebrate what we DO have to be grateful for.

    Thanks for making me think today through this powerful post!

    • Alysa August 21, 2014, 5:29 pm

      Your thoughts add so much depth to my post, Merritt. I’ve also been reflecting on this verse for the past few days: “Those that cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” Jonah 2:8 YES to that! The necessity of replacing the idol with God’s grace and affection for him is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Merritt August 21, 2014, 4:50 pm

    P.S. It’s 10:49 AM (MT) and your blog is telling me it’s really 4:49pm. Hmm….time warp? :)

    • Alysa August 21, 2014, 5:30 pm

      Wow… now it says it’s 5:29pm here. WHAT? Time warp. Gotta be a time warp.

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