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Describing the Practice of Celebrating

Through the faith practice of celebrating we delight in circumstances, relationships, and occasions that help us remember and anticipate God's abundant goodness, creativity, faithfulness, beauty, and love.

The Practice of Celebrating: Delight in Action

by Chris Schoon, Director of Thrive-US

At a conference I attended, a Christian speaker told a story about an in-flight conversation she had with the person sitting next to her. When the person asked the all-too-familiar conversation starter “So, what do you do?” she decided to change up her typical response. Instead of explaining that she was an evangelist who traveled the country talking about God with university students and church leaders, this time she simply answered: “I party for God.”

That line has resurfaced in my thoughts many times over the years, and inevitably I end up smiling when I remember it. I often wonder how our public witness as Christians would change if we were known as people whose lives are characterized by celebration—people who “party for God.”

Celebrations are commonplace in the North American context. We celebrate all sorts of defining moments in our lives: birthdays, graduations, and weddings being the big three. We also celebrate civic holidays, sporting events, grand openings of new stores, and groundbreakings for new buildings. We like to celebrate, and almost any occasion will do.

But the spiritual discipline of celebrating, which both expresses and forms our faith, is different from simply throwing a party.

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Helpful Resources for Practicing Celebration

Scripture passages on celebration and a resource list of good things to read, watch, and listen to.

How Can I Practice Celebration?

Practicing Celebration Individually

Practicing Celebration with a Group

Practicing Celebration as a Family

Points to Ponder

Explore these questions in personal reflection, at home, or in small groups:

  • Does celebration come naturally to you? What life experiences have made it easy or difficult for you to celebrate wholeheartedly?
  • What was the most joyful, celebratory moment of your life so far? What made it significant?
  • How might we more fully practice the discipline of celebration when we participate in the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and baptism?
  • How might our family celebrations become opportunities for faith formation?


"Celebrating life is not a party but an ongoing awareness that every moment is special and asks to be lifted up and recognized as a blessing from on high."

—Henri Nouwen in Following Jesus (Tweet this quote)

Explore Other Faith Practices

Thrive's Faith Practices Project explores twelve Christian practices or spiritual disciplines: sabbath, gratitude, generosity, hospitality, engaging Scripture, justice and mercy, listening, celebration, prayer, wonder, remembering, and service.