Once we’re older, beyond big birthday celebrations, if someone chooses to throw a party, it’s often not the surprise hoped for.
In this case, the surprise was real.
Our son was hitting a milestone birthday, and his wife wanted to make it a wonderful memory. His birthday falls in the middle of January, so the excuses to come to Florida were the need to get out of Pennsylvania’s frozen landscape, attend our youngest daughter’s baby shower, or celebrate two cousins who were born on the same day hours apart.
Their family flew down, including one of the birthday cousins. Most of our family were able to come, but it didn’t cause our son to question everyone’s presence. They were obviously there for the baby shower.
The surprise party was at a friend’s local establishment, and family and friends arrived early to help set up and decorate. It was such a sweet mix of all those he cares for–long-time companions and the family he cherishes.
When he showed up, the surprise on his face expressed the amazement that this had been about him. Totally unexpected. Greatly appreciated.
We layered the times of celebration. The day after the surprise party, we threw a baby shower for our youngest daughter; her gratitude was tangible because of the lavish love of friends and family.
We followed it all up with a double birthday bash for the cousins. The party was a success, due mostly to the pizza and pinata–there is no better combination.
It was exhausting.
Our love and compassion can drive our desire to celebrate others. We want them to know the depths of our gratitude and appreciation for who they are; that can lead to extravagant expressions of love. What we fail in, however, is the consistency of such love. We become tired, overwhelmed with life, possibly despairing because no one celebrates us. Maintaining delight in others costs us.
God considered the cost and still chooses to love us.
His delight in us is real and lasting, even though He knows everything there is to know about us–our thoughts before we think them, our words before we speak them. His love is lavish and generous,. never stingy.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us His children, and that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
We have a Father in heaven who loves to celebrate us because He chooses to cherish us. A Father who isn’t disappointed in us, who always shows up, whose love isn’t conditional if we make mistakes. God is a Father whose love is dependable, persevering, perfect.
His choice to love and offer us forgiveness comes from a truly caring heart; He seeks relationships with us. We can choose His love because we’re not puppets controlled by cosmic strings of obedience. He pursues us in love, for our benefit, to give us a future and hope.
I love to celebrate my family and those I care for. I know I don’t sustain that celebratory attitude all the time. As easily as I can honor some, I can level them with my words.
Not God. He chooses to love because He has made a way to show us His love, through Jesus.
That’s genuine celebration.