I’ve been thinking a lot about celebrations, as people have struggled with this aspect of life this year. Celebrations –  birth, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, leaving school and even funerals – have all been affected by the restrictions placed on us this year, and the reason this has hit us so badly is that these are occasions when our need for community overrides our desire to be alone. These ‘life events’ need to be shared; celebrations are times when we fully acknowledge that we are not meant to be alone and can rejoice in the people who matter to us. Everyone has had to alter their celebratory plans this year in some respect, and it’s been especially difficult for people going through these important rites of passage without the physical presence of others with them. Even though we can be grateful for videos and phone calls, there’s something so important about actually being together.

In our church, we like to mark people’s birthdays by singing to them as they stand on our ‘birthday box’. Yesterday, Garry sang to Isla, who will be celebrating her first birthday later this month, and to two other children (Layla and Tatijana) who will aso not be able to have their normal birthday parties and celebrations. We pray these children will know the joy of celebrations however their families manage to do this and that they will continue to grow and flourish in God.

Children are a reminder to us that life goes on and that there is much to celebrate in the ordinary. We like to sing children’s songs in our services, and even though we have not been able to sing together, the children have still enjoyed dancing to music and listening to truth in song. This is as it should be. All of us still have much to celebrate in Jesus Christ, no matter what is going on around us. We are His children, bought with His precious blood. We are forgiven and restored to a whole new family relationship with our heavenly Father. Celebration must remain a part of our everyday experiences. May we dance with abandon, sing our hearts out and celebrate who God is and what He has done for us!