It’s high time our families learned to celebrate God — not just on Christmas and Easter, but in every facet of life! Join AMBrewster as he unveils The Year Long Celebration of God, a highly unique and innovative resource designed to help Christian parents disciple their children.
Learn more about The Year Long Celebration of God.
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Discover the following episodes that mention the Celebration of God by clicking the titles or navigating to the episode in your app:
“Should Halloween Have Any Place in Our Homes?” (episode 206)
“Easter” series (starts in episode 248)
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Click "Read More" for today’s Transcript.
Have you ever celebrated God? I mean, really . . . have you ever truly celebrated God?
What would that even look like?
Is it accurate to say that our annual observances of Easter and Christmas are truly celebrations of God?
What does it biblically mean to celebrate something? And why would this topic be relevant to parenting?
I hope today to begin a journey with you to answer those questions. And as we take each step down this road, I believe our families will benefit greatly — not only from the destination, but also from every inch we traverse.
It is my solid conviction that our topic today will play an integral and formative part in the discipling of our kids. In fact, what I’m going to unveil over the next few minutes is the very incarnation of what it looks like to be intentional, premeditated, disciple-making, Ambassador Parent.
I hope you’re excited. I know I am.
As always, you can navigate to TakingBackTheFamily.com to read the transcript of our show, but we won’t have any episode notes for you today.
Now, let’s talk about what it means for your family to celebrate God, why your family should be doing it every day of the year, and how you can help your home take the next steps in their spiritual maturity by utilizing The Year Long Celebration of God as an exciting discipleship resource.
Growing up my family celebrated all the main holidays the way you’d expect any good protestants to celebrate.
Sure, we didn’t have a robust liturgical calendar in our church, but we put all the appropriate cultural emphasis on the days that mattered. That meant that we decorated for Christmas and made the cookies and listened to Andy Williams and the Carpenters and exchanged gifts and even participated in our church’s Christmas cantata. Easter wasn’t quite as involved, but we always went to church and enjoyed the special emphasis.
Of course, Thanksgiving was our jam. Our ancestors had participated in the very first American Thanksgiving so . . . you know . . . it was a matter of honor.
And that was pretty much it from the church side. The 4th of July and Memorial Day and Labor Day and Mother’s and Father’s Day and Valentines were all given their appropriate secular nod . . . and for every event I’ve mentioned . . . there was always too much food.
And everyone I knew celebrated those days the same ways. Let’s be honest, going to church during Christmas and Easter were always the “low” parts for children. We did it, and everyone there made it enjoyable for the kids, but — at least in my family — we’d much rather be eating cookies and looking for easter eggs.
I keenly and ashamedly remember cringing when any adult family members suggested we read a portion of the Scripture on Christmas morning or Easter.
Of course, I didn’t have to worry about that happening on the 4th of July or Labor Day.
And then I went to college and most of the holidays ceased to mean much to me other than a potential day off work and classes. Thanksgiving and Christmas were always amazing, of course — Christmas always being my favorite growing up — and now they were even more significant because they both marked the end of a semester of classes. Keep in mind that I had been homeschooled all growing up, so that element was new to me.
But Easter slowly became less of a big deal. All the eggs and candy and special meals were gone, I was still at school, and all we had was a special Sunday service or vespers or a play or a living gallery. It was okay. Some of those things were really amazing, and I always loved and appreciated what Jesus had done for me. But, as for really celebrating Easter . . . well.
And then I got married. And then my wife and I had kids. And then we experienced a couple rounds of the major holidays. And then my wife and I had this dramatic, dawning, and extremely uncomfortable realization that perhaps we didn’t really observe those holidays to the glory of God like we may have thought. And we wanted so much more for our kids when it came to how they viewed and participated in these “celebrations.”
I personally realized that the thing I loved most about Christmas was the snow and the lights and the tree and the cookies, family, presents, and vacation. I loved the music too. In fact, I will still listen to Christmas music all year long . . . to my wife’s chagrin.
But I was really convicted that my favorite parts of the holiday season were all legitimately beautiful blessings from God, but when subtracted from the real purpose of Christmas, I was celebrating the season just like an unbeliever would. God had become a necessary add-on. He was an awkwardly appreciated addition to the festivities.
And was starting to realize that was a huge problem.
Now, I can’t go into all the details concerning how God was working in my life during that time. For the sake of this story I’m only really focusing on how I responded to holidays and how God opened my eyes to a need in my spirit, but — in order to be more transparent about how God was working in my life — there were plenty of other areas in my life where God wasn’t on the throne like He should be.
In fact, I’ll be honest enough to say that my approach to the holidays was what is was because I was too often the god of my life, and I simply approached the seasons the same way I did everything else . . . how can I enjoy this for me? When I enjoyed reveling in what God had done for me, I enjoyed it. Otherwise, it was just what you do.
So, my wife and I have been on this journey for over a decade now. The first 6 or 7 years were pretty slow. We made some changes to how our family observed the major holidays, but most of it was the same.
But then we moved to Victory Academy.
There I was living day in and day out with unbelieving terrorist teenagers in my home, and I saw the fact that we couldn’t just ignore God and expect there to be any change in their lives.
They lived every minute of their lives trying to suck every pleasure out of the air for their own personal enjoyment. They gave no thought to God — He was a nuisance and an annoyance. And I finally started to grasp my responsibility to make God real for them.
In addition to church on Sunday and Wednesdays, we had morning devotions, evening chapels about three times a week, intensive chapels at other times, retreats with preaching and Bible study, weekly formal counseling, and all the other informal counseling I found myself doing just trying to keep a family of 14 idolaters from killing each other.
And still it wasn’t enough. The boys still forgot about God. They still ignored Him. They still fell victim to Satan, the World, and the Flesh.
Then I slowly realized that since God was everywhere, we needed — as a family — to encounter Him everywhere. Who God is and what He had done slowly started to become the very blood coursing through my veins. They were the things that made the hands on the clock move for me. I found myself pointing Him out and talking of Him all the time — eating, playing games, taking walks, in times of trouble, driving, everywhere. I needed to. That’s what these boys needed. It’s what my kids needed. It’s what my wife and RA’s needed. It’s what I needed.
How on earth had I lived so much of my life ignorant and blind to what God was doing in my life?
Victory forced me into a place where I had to keep my eyes fixed solely on God in order to survive and have any hope of it affecting the boys.
And I praise God for that experience because I learned something extremely important.
You don’t only need to live that way when you’re working in a boys home for at-risk teens; we Christians have been commanded by God to live that way all of the time.
It’s like a martial arts instructor trying to convince a room full of women that they need to learn self-defense, but they politely decline until — one day — one of them is attacked and molested. Then everything changes. That woman signs up for the courses, she learns, she starts teaching, she starts advocating for women to be trained in the martial arts for their own safety and the safety of their families. She experienced it, and she only too late realized how important and necessary it was for her safety.
And now she regrets not learning it sooner
I don’t want us and our families lying mangled on the spiritual battlefield of the Lust of the Flesh and the Lust of the Eyes and the Pride of Life wishing we had taken this whole thing much more seriously.
In the same way, how I needed to parent at Victory was not unique to Victory. It’s how we’re all called to parent. During the holidays, during the big game, during school, and during dinner . . . God has commanded us to pack His Truth into every moment.
Now, what does this have to do with celebration?
Well, I realized that our modern Christian understanding of the celebration of God is sadly limp.
We compartmentalize our faith into something we do at certain times of the day or week or year, and then we live the rest of our lives just like everyone else around us . . . with very little thought or concern to God’s expectations for us when we’re not in church and our Bibles aren’t open.
And I realized that that mentality was a key facet of Satan and the World and the Flesh’s spiritual attack on our families — keep them so distracted by “life” that they don’t have time to really think about the Giver of life.
Well, guess what. That needs to change.
The Year Long Celebration of God is not a repackaging of our modern and historic holidays. In fact, though it has a lot to do with holidays, that won’t be the only focus. Many of the holidays will play an integral part because they fall on days that we should already be celebrating God anyway. Of course we’re going to use them in our worship.
But, we’re also going to learn how to celebrate God on August 23rd . . . that’s right . . . a day with no special significance besides the possibility that it’s your birthday or you like to observe the made-up celebration of “Ride the Wind Day.”
God wants us to celebrate Him in every moment in every way. That’s what disciples do.
Now, according to Merriam-Webster, to celebrate has a number of meanings — for example: “to perform a sacrament or solemn ceremony publicly and with appropriate rites, to honor an occasion, such as a holiday especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business, to mark something, such as an anniversary by festivities or other deviation from routine, to hold up or play up for public notice, to observe a holiday, perform a religious ceremony, or take part in a festival, or simply to observe a notable occasion with festivities.”
And, let’s be honest, that might be fun for awhile, but we all know how important it is for a party to be over — for a vacation to come to and end.
We may be thinking that it may nice to suggest that we be involved in a never-ending celebration of God, but wouldn’t that would be exhausting?
Well, I believe we only respond that way because we don’t truly understand how God wants to be celebrated.
Keep in mind that we will be praising and worshipping and celebrating Him for all eternity. We’re not going to get bored, and we only ever imagine that we will because we really don’t understand Him the way we should.
Well, I say we not wait until eternity to start to learn how to appreciate it.
So, yes, there are sacraments and ceremonies He wants us performing publicly with appropriate rites, but we won’t do that all of the time.
Yes, He does want us honoring Him at certain times by solemn ceremonies or refraining from ordinary business.
He does want us to have natural and rhythmic deviations from normal activity in order to mark a special occasion.
But He also wants us celebrating Him in our prayer closets, every time we open His Word, and throughout the day — not always in fanfare and sacraments and rites, but always in word and in deed.
Would you agree that — when done in the right way for the right reasons — the Old Testament sacrificial system was an observance, a celebration of glorious realities past, present, and future? Of course. The Bible makes that perfectly clear. It was a solemn celebration of God’s salvation that was a regular part of every Jewish believer’s life.
Now consider Romans 12:1, “I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
We just spent 15 episodes diving into the reality of our minute-by-minute spiritual war. May I suggest that the victory we all desire is intrinsically tied to our ability to appropriately acknowledge and honor and mark and celebrate God in those moments when our spiritual enemies are tempting us to do things our own way?
As we’re going to see moving forward, to celebrate God is to do many things — some solemn, some exciting, some seemingly mundane, and some gorgeously transcendent.
And we’re also going to see that this celebration must encompass all we do, not simply be relegated to December 25th and April 22nd.
Philippians 4:4 raises the bar pretty high when it commands us to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” That word translated rejoice is used in many passages of Scripture to help us better understand the many things God wants us celebrating.
Let me give you some examples: We rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 3:1; 4:4), in His incarnation (Luke 1:14), His power (Luke 13:17), His presence with the Father (John 14:28), His presence with us (John 16:22), His ultimate triumph (John 8:56), hearing the gospel (Acts 13:48), our salvation (Acts 8:39), receiving the Lord (Luke 19:6), our enrollment in Heaven (Luke 10:20), our liberty in Christ (Acts 15:31), our hope (Romans 12:12), our prospect of reward (Matthew 5:12), the obedience and godly conduct of fellow believers (Romans 16:19; II Corinthians 7:7, 9; 13:9; Colossians 2:5; I Thessalonians 3:9; II John 4; 3 John 3), the proclamation of Christ (Philippians 1:18), the gospel harvest (John 4:36), suffering with Christ (Acts 5:41; I Peter 4:13), suffering in the cause of the gospel (II Corinthians 13:9; Philippians 2:17; Colossians 1:24), in persecutions, trials and afflictions (Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:23; II Corinthians 6:10), the manifestation of grace (Acts 11:23), meeting with fellow believers (I Corinthians 16:17; Philippians 2:28), receiving tokens of love and fellowship (Philippians 4:10), we’re supposed to rejoice in the rejoicing of others (Romans 12:15; II Corinthians 7:13), learning of the well-being of others (II Corinthians 7:16), and many more.
If we took the time to consciously rejoice in just those moments, it would change how we move through this life.
So, let’s now take a moment to answer how we can help our families take the next steps in their spiritual maturity by utilizing The Year Long Celebration of God, and then we’ll end with an amazing announcement.
The Year Long Celebration of God, or just The Celebration of God, is simply a tool whereby you can intentionally and premeditatedly use the everyday occurrences and rhythms of this life to point your children to the reality and presence and person of God as you evangelize them and subsequently disciple them as Ambassadors of God.
Now, I’m not claiming that it’s all you need. In fact, The Celebration of God is not so much the content of the discipleship as it is the plan for discipleship. It’s a necessary facet of discipleship — like so many other resources we provide you.
For example, if you and your family follow the lessons learned in The Communication House, you will address many issues in your home. But there are still many other biblical Truths you need to use in your parenting if you want to grow your Parenting Bible and truly unpack the counsel of God stored in the Scriptures for us.
The Celebration of God is the same. Lord willing, you will find that it touches on many — if not most — of the moments of your day, providing structure and guidance for unique ways to bring God’s will for your family to the forefront of your plans and experiences. We want it to address the ebbs and the flows, the highs and the lows, the holidays and the school days and the work days.
So . . . drumroll please . . . for all of these reasons and more, we are going to embark on a new journey.
Over the next two months we’re going to explain the Celebration of God in great detail so we all understand it better. We’re going to give a more in-depth answer for what it means to celebrate God, the types of celebrations, the fact that God commands us to celebrate Him, and various facets of the Celebration of God resource, and so on. We also hope to answer the questions and concerns that will likely arise as we unpack this for you. Think of it as a new TLP series.
However, all the while we’re publishing those episodes here on TLP, we’ll also be packaging the information up and starting another podcast. That’s right, Truth.Love.Parent. will be starting The Celebration of God Podcast that we hope — Lord willing — will eventually branch off on its own.
TeamTLP and I plan to handle the material this way is for a couple reasons:
So, in order to allow the Celebration of God to flourish and not overshadow the other discussions we need to have about how to be a Truth.Love.Parent., we’re going to introduce the podcast here, and then roll it out to the world.
And I could not be more excited. I’m like a kid in a candy shop considering the usefulness of this resource, the topics we’ll be able to discuss, the guests we’ll feature, the glory we pray this resource heaps on our Lord, and the good we hope it will do your family.
I’m sure you can agree with me that God is worthy of our prayer, adoration, worship, and celebration. I’m sure you can see how each of us needs to continue growing in our awareness of God and devotion to His will for our lives.
And I hope you’re excited — or at least interested — right along with me to learn more about how the Year Long Celebration of God works.
It’s going to be awesome!
Please share this episode on your favorite social media outlets so other parents can discover this amazing new endeavor from Truth.Love.Parent. because if we want our children to grow up into Christ, we must parent in Truth and love. And when we really understand that Truth and love, we’re going to want to celebrate it.
To that end, join us next time as we premier the inaugural episode of “The Celebration of God Podcast.”
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