In Philippians 2:17-18, Paul says “Even if I am to be poured out a a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.” As I contemplate the spiritual discipline of celebration, I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Church at Philippi. Even though the concept can originate in heart of the individual, the ultimate expression of celebration is best shared among the community of the faithful.
More than anyone else, Christians should stand out as we celebrate, especially during this time of year. It begins with Thanksgiving, a time to gather around the table with family and friends and celebrate with grateful hearts the wonderful blessings we share. We should celebrate with laughter, more than just passing around the table and telling what we’re thankful for. As Frederick Buechner reminds us of when he says “It’s what the rafters rang with when the Prodigal comes home and his old crock of a father is so glad to see him he almost has a stroke and ‘they began to make merry’ and kept on making merry ’til the cows came home (Luke 15:24).” We should celebrate this way, because aren’t we all Prodigal’s anyway?
The celebration continues on into the Advent season, as we enter into the wonder of the incarnation. As John Henry Newman declares; “For one day we may put off the burden of our polluted consciences, and rejoice in the perfections of our Savior Christ, without thinking of ourselves, without thinking of our own miserable uncleanness, but contemplating His glory, His righteousness, His purity, His majesty, His overflowing love.”
This celebration is only eclipsed by the thoughts of the resurrection. “Christ is risen indeed!” Oh, what a great celebration! But greater still is the thought of the eternal celebration that the community of the faithful followers will share together for eternity in the continuous presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Christians should definitely stand out differently in our celebrations.
Greg Allgood currently serves as Instructor of Christian Studies and Associate Director of Campus Worship at Anderson University. Prior to joining the full-time faculty, Greg was the Director of Campus Ministries. He has a passion for ministering to college students and watching them grow in their faith and commitment to Jesus Christ.
A 1982 graduate of Anderson University, Greg grew up in the upstate of South Carolina. He completed his BA in Communications from Carson-Newman College in 1985 and received his Masters in Communication from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1987. Before coming to Anderson as Church/ College Relations Coordinator in 2000, Greg served for twelve years in two different youth ministry positions. Greg has also served as an Instructor of Speech/Theatre at the University.