As a child, I used to prepare in advance for my birthday parties. Months in advance. I’d think about what we would eat, how the living room would be set up, what games we’d play and, most especially, who would be invited.
Deciding who would be invited was always difficult for me. Not because I wanted to limit those who came, but because I didn’t want anyone to be left out. Not because I wanted lots of people to celebrate my birthday, but because I didn’t want anyone to feel left out of any celebration that was happening.
However, once I’d managed the inviting and including of people, I’d inevitably have a crisis of doubt over whether those invited would actually want to come. When the day finally came I’d wonder, ‘Will anyone come?’ and then, because I was so emotionally exhausted by worrying about people coming or not coming, I would start to wish that nobody would come.
It was all a little stressful.
Yet, I loved and still love celebrating!
Last week, our staff team at work had a little celebration. I arrived to see our administrator – a man of taste and distinction – enter the room with a bowl of fresh, ripe cherries! Something exciting was happening!
‘We’re celebrating today!’, he said.
I didn’t know what we were celebrating and, frankly, I didn’t care. I so love an opportunity to pause in the normal movements of life to celebrate. And celebrate we did!
At that moment I celebrated the joy of ripe, sweet, juicy cherries!
I am ever keen to celebrate the small, seemingly mundane things in life – celebrating more than the usual events of births, marriages and graduations. Celebrating the road and not just the milestones. Not because I’m a party animal – but because I love to see people gathered, to pause and appreciate all kinds of daily blessings. To give thanks together.
Last night, I was invited to a friend’s 60th Birthday Party. She had invited friends – younger and older – to share drinks with bubbles, meatballs with dipping sauce, and cakes with candles.
She and her husband both gave beautiful speeches. He celebrated her love, liveliness and adaptability over the years. She celebrated the many friendships that had shaped her character. She celebrated the gift of many years. She deliberately wanted to celebrate getting older, in a culture where age is increasingly seen as a curse.
Today, I gathered with my church family and we celebrated afterwards – recognising God’s grace in the gift of sunshine.
Oh, and Edna’s egg sandwiches!