“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

This is not how we usually picture God. We don’t imagine Him singing with delight over us, or even smiling at us for that matter. We might believe He loves us, but His love comes with expectations that we rarely meet. As a result, we live under God’s disappointment rather than living under God’s gladness. Here is the good news: God celebrates you. Like a parent celebrating the first steps of their child, our Father joyfully celebrates every step towards Him we take. We fall often, but His grace picks us right back up and He celebrates our perseverance.

Because we have a Father who celebrates us in Heaven, we have the opportunity to celebrate here on earth. Unfortunately, we have lost the art of celebration. Our busyness has given us no room to celebrate and we often take our lives and ourselves too seriously. People and moments to celebrate go unnoticed because we don’t have the awareness or the time to recognize them. If there are any people who should know how to celebrate though, it’s the people of God who are free from condemnation.

Richard Foster, in Celebration of Discipline, writes, “Celebration is at the heart of the way of Christ.” On the contrary, celebration is not the way of the world. We spend much more of our time complaining and critiquing, certainly in the locker room. This is where the Christian athlete can lead differently by inserting a spirit of joy and encouragement. While the world typically responds to other’s achievements with jealousy and skepticism, the Christian is freed from this way of interacting with others. Additionally, the Christian athlete doesn’t only celebrate wins and championships, but also those moments of perseverance, camaraderie, and “little” victories along the way. Celebration expresses itself in many ways, but at the heart of it is recognizing and appreciating others and the joys of this life.

  • Prayerfully reflect on the truth of God’s love and celebration over you.
  • Ask God to help you believe in His delight in you.
  • Ask God to reveal people you should take time to celebrate today.