Let’s Celebrate!

November 1, 2021 by Kimberly Orr, Publisher of The Upper Room

Seven days you shall keep the festival to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose; for the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all your undertakings, and you shall surely celebrate. — Deuteronomy 16:15 (NRSV)

As the year draws to a close and we move into the holiday season, I am reminded that God calls us into celebration. In the scripture above, the LORD commands the people to “surely celebrate.” In Hebrew, the word translated as “celebrate” is sameach (sah-MAY-och). This term includes connotations of happiness, joy, and childlike, unbridled glee that are made possible by the presence and provision of our loving, parenting God.

When I was a child I loved to play in the mud. I would spend hours using my imagination to construct pies, roads, and castles from the mire and muck. Of course, as a result of my creative efforts I would arrive home covered in dirt. My mother would greet me at the door with her hands on her hips and a scowl on her face. Although she may have been upset by the state of my clothes, she was secretly proud of me for expressing my creativity. Beneath my mother’s scowl, I always knew her heart was filled with love for me and that she enjoyed the fact that I was happy building and creating my muddy worlds.

May we always be able to trace the smile on God’s face as we find ways to creatively celebrate the arrival of Immanuel, God with us. And may we make room in our daily routines to experience the gift of childlike joy in the Lord’s presence.


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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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