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A Serious Celebration

By Tracy Bruce | Ordained associate minister, Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, Penn.; student, Geneva College, Adult Degree Completion Program.

Exodus 12:14-20

It seems as if many events in our lives revolve around celebrations. When two people decide to marry, they celebrate with a wedding ceremony and reception; then every year they celebrate an anniversary. When people get new job, they celebrate their new employment; when they are promoted, they celebrate their promotions; and when it's time to leave, they celebrate their retirements. When someone completes school, we celebrate graduations; when someone is born, we celebrate the birth; when someone dies, we celebrate his or her life.

We soon will be celebrating Thanksgiving; and if the Lord allows us to live, we will celebrate Christmas.

We have many different kinds of celebrations, and we have many different ideas about what it means to celebrate. On wedding anniversaries, one spouse may want celebrate by going to the opera and out to dinner, while the other may want to celebrate by going to a football game; and on occasion, one spouse has celebrated without the other spouse. That is why on many wedding anniversaries, the celebration often turns into a dispute because what one spouse views as a celebration is not necessarily a celebration to the other spouse.

So what does it mean to celebrate? Webster's dictionary tells us to celebrate is "to perform a sacrament or solemn ceremony publicly with appropriate rites, to honor someone or something by refraining from ordinary business, to observe a notable occasion with festivities."

Although millions of people celebrate the holidays, most people do not know what the celebrations really are about. Some people view holidays as just another day to party. The definition says a celebration is to refrain from ordinary business. In other words, we are to put aside school work and take a day off work to enjoy ourselves, to take a rest from the norm. For some people, celebrating is the norm. All they do is party. They constantly talk about a party they went to, a party they are going to attend or a party they are planning. So when someone says, "Let's celebrate," it has no significance for that person.

For some, a celebration is viewed as just another opportunity to eat too much. Most of our holidays are nothing more than eating frenzies with no real meaning behind the celebration. Some people go from house to house looking for something to eat: "I'll go to Aunt Sue's house, because she has sweet potato pie." "I'll go my sister's house, because she made ham." "I'll go to Mama's house, because she made chitterlings."

Such people are not thinking about the meaning of the celebration, but about food. Jesus said in John 6:26, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for Me, not because you saw miraculous signs, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill." In other words,"You are not looking for Me. You just came to see if there was any food left."

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