Easter! To kids, it means candy, Easter egg hunts, and baskets of goodies. To adults, it means days off from work, lots of food, and of course, candy. We do like to celebrate.
But what do we celebrate?
Let’s take a look of some of the things that make people really excited.
Sex is probably the number one thing about which people get excited. Without sex, there would be no people, so this may be a good thing. Yet, we celebrate the first time we have sex, and then the first time we have sex in a relationship. Then we celebrate almost any sexual identity or activity there is. Sex sells and sex excites. So, we celebrate it.
Sports is undoubtedly the number one group-thing we celebrate. Soccer is the beautiful game. Hockey is the fastest game on ice. Fans plan their days and holidays around their team’s schedule. Sports have become the priority in many people’s lives. I attended one church that on the days our home team was playing, many and maybe even most people, wore the team colours in the service. The biggest cheer those days is not for Jesus but for the pastor’s mention of the team’s name!
Movies really get some people going, don’t they? The occultic Harry Potter series had fans dressing up and practising their wizardry skills. TV series can also cause the same level of excitement. The Dr. Who TV show has many fans who spend millions of dollars on Dr. Who paraphernalia. The Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and Peoples’ Choice awards celebrate this billion-dollar industry.
Celebrities, even the word celebration is in their name. Sex symbols, sports, and movies all have stars and even superstars, People idolize these people and attribute to them characteristics they simply don’t have. We think that if a person is good at acting, they must be wise. Or if a person kicks a ball or plays cricket well, they must be kind. The same is true of some leaders. The Royal Family in England would be the world’s biggest superstar celebrities. We flock to see them. I remember the Beatles and young women actually fainting when they heard or saw them!
Birthdays and Anniversaries are probably the most common things we celebrate. From the original birth at which cigars, gifts, and congratulations are wildly distributed to the end of life here on earth, we honour and celebrate the day we were born. Birthdays define us. Andy, he’s in his sixties. Joe was a good man, but he died so young. Frank is wise beyond his years. Every year we celebrate ourselves or better yet, others celebrate us on our birthdays.
We had nothing to do with our birth. But we did with our anniversaries. Wedding anniversaries are celebrated often privately, but they are deeply significant. Ask any poor man who forgot to shower his love with affection and gifts in their anniversary date! Other anniversaries we celebrate include years at a job or years of sobriety. We look at these markers of time as accomplishments, and in many ways, they are huge achievements.
Every day we have achievements. Some are small, Others are huge. Some are very private and others are very public. Winning an election, or starting a successful business are both huge and public. Weight loss or sobriety are often private achievements shared with only a select few. However, achievements are celebrated, they encourage us and others to strive forward and to build upon their successes.
All these celebrations have one thing in common. They all celebrate things we did. We celebrate humanity. While it is good to do this, these milestones can only bring us so far. Even the greatest kings and the best players die. Their achievements might be recorded in history, but they are soon forgotten as new celebrities and new achievements replace their legacies.
But there is one achievement that has never been outdone. A true once in a lifetime achievement that can be never duplicated. It started when God created the world, and it will end with the return of Jesus. At the center, is both the cross, a cursed symbol of evil and death, and the empty tomb, a blessed symbol of life.
So, let’s lift our heads above self-celebration and celebrate the most incredible event of all time: Jesus’s victory over sin and death and the way for all to receive salvation.
If we want to celebrate, let’s celebrate something really worth Celebrating.
Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. Currently, his wife, Stella and Andy, lead both Lighthouse ministries and Bread of Life ministries in North Central Regina, one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.