My favorite holiday when I was a kid was always the 4th of July. I loved the fireworks, my family’s tradition of making homemade ice cream and running around in warm weather with my brood of cousins. It was enough to make it the most anticipated family gathering of the year for me. It beat out Christmas and Thanksgiving hands down. The fireworks were always the highlight of the evening and they filled me with awe and wonder.
As an adult, awe and wonder have been harder to grab a hold of. Life has a way of stealing joy and laughter if we let it, and there have been times when I let it. There have been times when I crawled into my hole of darkness and forgot there were reasons to laugh, or sing, or dance. There have also been times when other people thought that I should laugh less loudly, less heartily, and less often—I let their ideas dampen my joy. There have been times when it seemed the seriousness of life demanded that I apologize for finding the silver lining.
There are many reasons in this life to be depressed, hurt, angry, lost, resentful, and bitter. But I’ve found through the love and grace of Christ Jesus that there are plenty of every day joys to celebrate as well.
Even in the midst of sorrow, hardship, uncertainty, and pain there are often moments of pleasure, reasons to laugh, and opportunities to be filled with awe and wonder.
As a child the big celebrations grabbed my attention and held my esteem. But as an adult, I’ve learned to look for the little daily surprises and sweet moments to fill my heart with gladness.
Moments like my kids playing nicely together, the back yard flowers blooming with a sweet aroma, and the colors of the sunset.
Moments when my kids show undeserved kindness, plant pop-cycle kisses on my cheek, and talk to me about what’s happening in their lives.
Moments when we celebrate birthdays, academic successes, and new opportunities.
Big moments, like when my daughter reached the 6-months-seizure-free mark and the anticipation that, soon, she will reach the one year mark.
Celebrations over potty training successes and the kid’s remembering to flush…and wash hands!
Celebrations like 13 years of marriage to my best friend.
Celebrations like the grass coming in green and the roof holding out for just a bit longer…
Thankfulness for a working laundry machine, summer breezes, and quiet moments watching the kids run in the sprinklers.
And there is more…
Celebrating the way God provides when the money isn’t there, and watching as he moves in the hearts of my kids.
Watching as God turns the sorrow of Epilepsy, and a truck load of other diagnoses, into the development of strength and character in a struggling little girl.
Turning a regular boring night into a family dance party just because.
Celebrating all those little moments; moments I was given to spend with my family, just living and laughing together.
I wouldn’t change it, and I don’t want to miss it.
As a child, I watched the fireworks, but now I watch my kid’s faces.
At one time I was hoping for the man of my dreams. Now I’m proud of the man I married.
The every day celebrations beat out the big celebratory festivities of fleeting seasons every single time…but only if I notice them.
I wouldn’t change that for the most spectacular fireworks display.
Because the most captivating celebrations of my life are the ones I almost miss.
“The LORD has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3