Voices of Faith: Spiritual people know how to celebrate

Quick! Think of a list of the top ten characteristics of a spiritual person. No doubt your list included love and humility. Perhaps you thought of the gift of being a good listener or the trait of patience. Here’s a vital one that is sometimes missed: The ability to throw a good party!

That ought to be on everyone’s top ten list. Spiritual people know how to have a good time. They are full of joy. In fact, the Bible commands people to be joyful: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

In Richard Foster’s awesome book, Celebration of Discipline, he discusses the disciplines, the practices that people have used down through the ages to draw close to God and to grow in their spiritual lives. He discusses classics like meditation, solitude, and worship. And he saves for last one of my favorites: Celebration.

Spiritual people know how to celebrate. They know how to give thanks and let their joy overflow. To say it again, they know how to throw a good party.

But how exactly do you throw a good party? How do you really let loose and give thanks? After some research and thought, here are several ideas.

First, include others in your good times. Norton, a professor at the Harvard Business School, co-wrote a book titled “Happy Money: The Science Of Smarter Spending.” One of his basic conclusions was that buying more and more stuff is not the way to be happy. Spending money having experiences with others was. Real joy isn’t about stuff. It’s about relationships.

Second, focus on others. Real joy happens with others, and also for others. A good party happens when the host focuses on his guests. So, for example, the Malibu Beach Recovery Center has a webpage devoted to how to throw a sober party that the recovering alcoholic could attend and enjoy. Focus on others. The Bible suggests that that is one way to find some joy in even our darkest times and struggles. When we realize that what we are going through will allow us to help others in the same situation that brings purpose and with it, some joy.

Third, focus on faith and the long view. Foster notes in his book that few things stop celebration as quickly as worry. We need a faith in a loving God who will provide and will see us through the deepest valleys. On the other side we will have grown and we will be one step closer to our true home with him.

Alan Cohen in his book “The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: Loving Freely, Living” says this: “When we see life in clear focus, it is always giving us enough.” He goes on to talk of a potluck at his house where, by accident, everyone brought a dessert. “’Perfect!’ we declared. ‘This is our opportunity to celebrate.’ Celebrate what? I don’t exactly remember. We just celebrated.’”

So celebrate! Throw a party filled with laughter and good times and good people. All the spiritual people are doing it.

Rick Cupp is Minister of the Kenai Fellowship. Sunday Bible classes are at 10:00 a.m., coffee at 10:45 a.m. and worship at 11:15 a.m. The Wednesday meal is at 6:15 p.m., Bible classes and worship 7-7:30 p.m.

More in Life

The welcome sign for the City of Kenai, as seen in this city Facebook page photo.
History with a sense of humor, Part 1

The first part of a two-part collection of humorous tales gleaned from old newspapers on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Ward off Halloween’s mystical monsters with these garlic-infused cheesy shells and pepper sauce. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tasty Halloween

Keep spooky creatures at bay with garlic-infused shells and pepper sauce.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Let there be lights!

When I stopped in at one of our local stores, I didn’t cringe when I saw all the holiday decorations on display.

Cabbage, potatoes, salmon and an assortment of pantry staples make for a culinary challenge. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Take a culinary pop quiz

Get creative with what’s in your pantry

This undated John E. Thwaites photo, perhaps taken near Seward, shows the S.S. Dora grounded. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 3

Her long career had come to an end at last.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes I wonder, who needs who

Dog whispers we are not. Suckers for unconditional love, you bet.

Meredith Harber (courtesy)
Minister’s Message: Don’t let termination dust bring you down

If I’m honest, this time of year is the hardest for me mentally and emotionally.

Pieces hang on display at the Kenai Art Center for the open call show on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘They felt like they could share with us now’

Art center open call offers space for new artists.

The Cosmic Hamlet Entertainment film crew prepares for a new scene to roll on the set of “Bolt from the Blue” at the Kilcher Homestead on Sept. 28. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
‘Bolt from the Blue’ film features Homer

“The Office” star Kate Flannery cast in feature film produced in Homer.

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: October is here again

The days are shorter. We are losing nearly six minutes a day. It’s getting colder.

This John E. Thwaites photo shows the S.S. Dora near Sand Point, Alaska. Thwaites sailed as mail clerk on the Dora between at least 1905 and 1912. (Alaska State Library photo collection)
Resilience of the Dora, part 2

The S.S. Dora touched lives on and became part of the history of the Kenai Peninsula and Southcentral Alaska.