Friday, December 7, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Celebration


On Celebration

A devotional by Lisa Lickel


The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”
~Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)

"Far and away the most important benefit of celebration is that it saves us from taking ourselves too seriously." ~Richard Foster, The Celebration of Discipline

Walking with Jesus should be a continual dance, leaping and shouting and rejoicing that we have been set free! Free! Free! Hallelujah! That’s how Jesus began his earthly ministry, remember? 
He went to church, took his place reading scripture from Isaiah about the Year of Jubilee which nobody since the time of Leviticus honestly held—like, ever—and, voila!, announced his purpose. In the writing world, writers recognize this as the supreme story-telling method. He stated the need, the conflict, and the resolution all at once. Subtle, hey?

The term "celebration" is used in many denominational parts of a worship service. The word probably brings up a different picture for everyone. What do you think when you hear it? What do you celebrate?

In the United States, the months of November, December, and January can be dreary with bad weather and darkness. They are also the months of a national Thanksgiving, the recognition of Christmas, and rejoicing in a New Year. However commercial we like to complain our society has become, we can’t change the origin of the celebrations. 

The heart of the national day of Thanksgiving is an appreciation for a (okay, brief) season of mutual interaction that helped a small group of determined religious refugees survive. They praised God for their new friendships which led to the first harvest. When Abraham Lincoln made the day a federal holiday, he made sure everyone knew we publicly party on behalf of the goodness of God. Recognizing the glad tidings of great joy in Christmas undergirds the spirit of Christ’s birth and what it means, and of course, a New Year is our chance to examine our hearts and redirect our faith journey.

What’s not to celebrate? Christianity is the practice of “do”: Do love the Lord, do love those around us. Jesus came to blast away the dourness of rules tacked on to grace and mercy. He came to remind us of who he is. God proclaims his love and the result of that love, the satisfaction of sin debt. He frees us from the ravages of that sin debt on each other and the world he built for us. He lifts us out of the pit we throw ourselves in; he makes the lame leap for the joy and turns mourning into laughter. He wishes we wouldn’t take ourselves so seriously that we forget to have honest, good, clean fun that helps keep our focus trained on Him; joy that glorifies his name and makes others want to join us.

What I’ve learned this year of renewal is that while I worried I’d taken a left when I should have veered right, I was still making progress. The rabbit trails weren’t in vain and The Holy Spirit always had my whole being wrapped in his embrace. I allowed the Great Physician to examine me and unclog my ears, remove the plank from my eye, and un-stuff my arteries. It’s not permanent, I know. That’s why the faith walk is a journey, a practice of disciplines—one to celebrate.

My Prayer: I will praise You 
(God) forever with my whole being, remembering with joy that you are the author and finisher of my faith.

~*~
Author Bio:
Lisa Lickel lives in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. 

A multi-published and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and workshop leader. 

She is a member of Chicago Writers Association and part of Novel-in-Progress BookCamp and Writing Retreat, Inc., mentoring writers from across the United States and Canada.
~*~
Connect with Lisa:
Website: http://www.LisaLickel.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lisalickelauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/lisalickel
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lisajlickel
Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/2bPxi2X

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