Celebrate God

 Here are 4 reasons I have to be thankful this year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Celebrate – to observe or commemorate, to make known publicly, to praise widely,
Origin – from the Latin, celebrates – meaning to solemnize, honor, glorify, applaud, commend

Being a bit of a word geek, I like to look up the meanings of words even if I already have a pretty good idea of what the word may mean. As you can see, I looked up the word celebrate and wrote it out for you to also read. I thought it was especially interesting that celebrate can denote making known publicly and applauding. With preschoolers, I love to give them a chance to tell me their good news – making it known to others in the class so we can celebrate with them. When praising and worshiping with preschoolers, we applaud, dance and yes, even yell. It’s exuberant! It’s rarely quiet.

Today in church was very different from what we usually do, the worship was reflective, quiet, peaceful and focused completely on God, quite a contrast from preschool worship. In order to be in compliance with the orders of our state that there is to be no singing because of the risk of spreading COVID, we cut out the singing. It was different yet still very real and powerful. Celebrating God can be done in a variety of ways and still be genuine and authentic. Still I wonder, how can we celebrate God within the guidelines of the current pandemic?

It seems that celebrations as a whole have been few and far between this last year. Easter was celebrated virtually by many families, weddings were cancelled, memorials were postponed and for a short time, even churches were closed and services were held only online. Birthdays became drive by events and even restaurants were closed except for take out. Talk about change – in one year, life as we once knew it has completely shifted. Some have even wondered why we should celebrate any more, but I believe we do have much to celebrate and I am very thankful that my God has not changed. Still the question remains, how? (CHECK BELOW FOR IDEAS)

How can I celebrate God this week? How can I honor, applaud, praise and make Him known? Perhaps the easiest answer and yet the hardest to do, is to live like Jesus did. He came to earth and lived among us. He didn’t come to bring glory to Himself or to lord it over us, He simply came to love, serve and forgive. He came to do the will of the Father and He brought glory and honor to God.

Come celebrate with me. Celebrate a God who never changes, who is ever faithful, who doesn’t give up on us. Celebrate because God is good, He made us and He loves us. He is always with us. Even in the midst of all that is crazy around us, we can still celebrate God.


HOW CAN WE CELEBRATE GOD?
* REFLECT – Slow down, pause to say thank you to Him. To reflect on who He is and what He has done in your life, cultivate gratitude. This year has given us a chance to slow down and to reprioritize what is truly most important in our lives. Take this time to reflect on what God means to you.

* REJOICE OR ROCK IT OUT -Missing exuberant worship? If you are in your own home, you can be as exuberant as you want – unless of course, the baby is sleeping. But feel free to take out all stops, throw caution to the wind and sing at the top of your lungs, in the shower or as you dance with your preschooler, it doesn’t matter, just sing. You will increase your flow of endorphins and it will
lift your mood.

* RECORD IT – My favorite way of doing this is by journaling my prayers, praise and thanks, but I have a friend who like to move. Sitting still and journaling is just not her thing, so she records her prayers as she is driving or doing dishes and then later plays them back again celebrating what God is doing in her life.

* REMEMBER – Remind yourself of what God has done in your life. Remember what you have to be thankful for. It has been a rough year, but you’ve made it this far. You are still breathing. God is still in control. He is with you. He will help you when you cry out to Him and He really is good. He gives grace and He loves you more than you will ever know.

* REVEAL – Reveal God – Make Him known by sharing good news with a friend. Bad news is prevalent, let’s share the good news. What has God done for you? Share it! – Can’t get together? Virtual sharing is allowed. One word of caution here, be authentic and real in your sharing. If you have a friend who is really struggling right now, he/she may not appreciate hearing only the good.

PARENT PRAYER:
Father God,
I have so very much to be thankful for. I am thankful that you are my God and that you love me. You have been so good to me. Even when things seem a little hectic or problems arise, I know you are with me and that you are there to help me. I can praise you no matter what happens because your love never fails. You give me peace in the midst of a storm, light in the darkness, comfort when I am sad or lonely and you love me even when I am unloveable. Thank you God for opportunities to share your blessings with others. I pray that my kids learn the discipline of celebrating you and giving thanks. This time of year when the desire for toys and gadgets that every child thinks he or she should have is prevalent, teach my kids, teach me, to look up, celebrate and give thanks. I can give thanks even in the darkest times, because you are with me, Jesus Immanuel. Open my eyes to see the opportunities around me to share with others too. I want to live generously and teach my kids to learn to live generously too. Thank you God. You are amazing! Thank you for coming to earth. Amen

What Can You Do With Your Child?

SHARE A STORY: Celebrate God – Psalm 92 -paraphrased for Preschoolers
A Psalm is like a song to God.
1 It is good to praise the Lord, God Most High. – (Wave hands in the air and say, “Praise the Lord!“) It is good to praise your name.
2 It is good to sing about your love in the morning, – (Sing and say, “Thank you for your love.”)
3 It is good to play for you…. – (Play shakers, pots & pans or whatever you desire.)
4 Lord, you make us very happy…. – (Clap hands and say, “Yeah God!”)
Because of what you did. I gladly sing about it. – (Sing and say,, “Thank you for all you do”)
5 Lord, you did such great things. – (Twirl around and say, “God, you are amazing!”)  

God wants you to praise Him and thank Him. He made you to praise Him. What are some things you can praise and thank God for? (Allow time for your child to answer.) God loves you a whole lot and gives you what you need. He is good to you. He gave you Jesus. These are all good reasons to praise. Let’s remember to worship, praise and thank God this week. We can praise Him just because He is God. When we praise God, it helps us remember how good God is and it makes us happy. God is amazing! Let’s remember to tell God that we love Him this week.

PRAYER:
Dear God,
Thank you for making me and loving me. Thank you for my family who takes good care of me. I praise you because you are good and strong. You do amazing things and I love you.  Amen

KNOW: God made me to praise Him.
TALK ABOUT: I can praise God because ….
ASK: Who made you? God made me.

MEMORIZE: Psalms 150:6 – (Hold hands open as though holding a book.) 
Let everything – (Spread hands out to the side.)
That has breath – (Take a deep breath.)
Praise the Lord – (Wave arms above head.)

AND DO… Celebrate God!

FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK:
* Write a thank you note to someone include a thank you picture from your child. Don’t forget to say, “Thank you!” to God too. You could even write a note to God.

* Every time you or your child is tempted to complain this week, try turning it into praise. EX: When your child says, “My toy is broken.” Say, “I’m sorry your toy is broken. I’m thankful you have other toys to play with while I fix it,”