There is nothing like the elation of a child. Like a kid on Christmas morning isn’t a saying for no reason. The squeals, the tiny, shaking hands, the jumping about, the tears of utter joy that of no short supply. I don’t know too many adults who completely lose themselves to excitement anymore. Where did we lose the gift of celebration? Was it stolen as we grew in our sleep, bones growing beyond childlike wonder? The shimmer of excitement dimmed through the lens of maturity. In the hustle and bustle of adulthood, celebration can easily make a home on the backburner. More important priorities are dubbed, and celebration doesn’t come off the top shelf until absolutely necessary: weddings, new jobs, babies are some of the big hitters.
But life would be so incredibly dull if we didn’t celebrate – the big and small! It’s a true art form, which generates directly from the vein of gratitude and thanksgiving. When we view everything as a gift, everything becomes much easier to celebrate. You got front row parking? PARTY! The plant you’ve been trying to keep alive for the past two months is still alive, well, and only slightly struggling? AMAZING! Your one coworker who seems to do overtime checking and rechecking your work compliments you on a job well done? POP THE CHAMPAGNE! There is something new to relish each day – it just depends on your willingness to look for it. Appreciating and valuing these precious moments in life is a choice.
Luke 15 is a whole chapter of the lost being found, but it is also one of great celebration; each example raises the ante – lost sheep, lost coin, lost son. We first meet a shepherd who is devastated at the loss of his one sheep. One out of ninety-nine, those are pretty good odds – surely he could stand to be one fluffy head short? However, that is not how our loving – maybe even reckless – shepherd sees it. He leaves the rest of the herd, goes after the one, and rejoices when he finds his lost sheep, laying it on his shoulders, and invites all of his friends to celebrate with him (Luke 15:5-6)! Imagine having a buddy invite you to a party, just to tell you he found a sheep. Now that would make for one interesting party!
Moving right along, past the jokes, we meet a woman who lost a coin. Refusing to shrug her shoulders and tick off the next item on her to-do list, she sweeps her house and seeks diligently until she finds it. And when she finds it, she also gathers her crew to celebrate her valuable find. I know I would personally love to be invited to a swanky dinner party every time a friend found a dollar in their pocket.
And finally, we have the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In a nutshell: there is a man with two sons. One wishes his father dead to his face, asks for his inheritance early, gets the heck out of dodge, parties it up BIG time, squanders his inheritance, winds up living amongst pigs in squalor, and has a brilliant idea to go home and beg his father to take him in as a hired worker. Yet, we read in Luke 15:20, “But while [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” The father then invites the whole town to celebrate his lost son returning home.
Each of these stories centers around something, or someone, lost. However, the role of the seeker is the secret star of the show. After all, the value of what was lost is hinged upon the seeker’s choice and determination to find. Without value, a lost sheep is a wandering animal, a lost coin is a cut loss, and a lost son is a lost cause. So, as we go about our day, week, and month, let’s take time to celebrate the amazing miracles that happen every day. Be thankful for the ability to breathe, walk, and talk. Take a moment before you jump into your car in the morning to go to work by taking a look around at the sky and trees and say, “Thank You, Jesus! Thank You for the opportunity to serve You, and thank You for this moment in time. When we take the time to be thankful it actually lowers our stress levels, creates awareness and empathy for our vision and everyone around us. An attitude of gratitude puts us in a power channel and allows us to be calm-centered, vision-focused, and most importantly, inspires us to be the person God has called us to become.