We can never see the sunrise
by looking toward the west.
Japanese Proverb

With all that is happening in the world it may be difficult to find reasons to celebrate. We need the sunrise to remind us of hope. And it is hope that gives us a reason to rejoice.

Belize received its independence on September 21, 1981. However, the celebrations and decorations begin as soon as the calendar changes from August to September.

Seven years ago we arrived in Belize on September 6th to witness the country of Belize already decked out and decorated in red, white, and blue in anticipation of the holidays to come.

We have been present for Independence Day in several different countries. And the one thing that is uniquely Belizean from my perspective is that Belize doesn’t wait until the day of celebration to start celebrating. And it made me think that we shouldn’t wait for a reason to celebrate either!

Why celebrate?

Because of LIFE:

Life is short. Each breath, each moment, and each heartbeat is a cause for celebration!

Everyone will experience ups and downs in life but the more you praise, give thanks, and rejoice in spite of your circumstances the more you will find to praise, give thanks, and rejoice over!

The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and His life brought light to everyone.
John 1:4

This life is filled with enough Light for everyone. But, if you’re not looking for it you will miss out! The sun rises in the east not the west. Turn your head the other direction and look to Him for reasons to celebrate the life you are living in this moment.

Ponder the path of your feet. Are they leading you toward or away from the Light? It’s never too late to turn around and run the other way and begin to celebrate life.

Why celebrate?

Because of LOVE:

Love is priceless. If you find it embrace it, cherish it, nurture it. Never take love for granted.

Loneliness can be a deadly disease but those who are blessed with loving relationships can survive the harshest of conditions.

Four years ago on September 21st our son married the love of his life and we gained a daughter-in-love. We celebrate their love because it brings joy to our hearts to see two souls in love with God and in love with each other.

Our family has expanded to include a granddaughter and we rejoice each time we see her face or hear her laughter. There is hope, life, joy, and a sense that all is right with the world knitted within the laughter of of a child.

Who are the loved ones who bring a smile to your lips and joy to your heart? Give God thanks for them right now. Hand write them a letter or speak the words face to face.

Living in another country away from our extended family is hard at times. We’ve missed out on many special occasions large and small over the past 12 years of missionary life.

As I get older I realize that my family in the states has gotten older as well. Tom and I made it a point to express our love and appreciation verbally to my 98 year old grandmother last October. The three of us cried together and spoke words normally reserved for a funeral. I’m grateful that Tom got the ball rolling on that conversation. It is a priceless moment to think back on and cherish.

Why celebrate?

Because of CHRIST!

In Hebrews there is a passage that speaks to me as a reason for celebration and gives a picture of a great celebration to come.

Hebrews 12:1-3 says,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

There is a great crowd of witnesses cheering us on! We can endure to the end no matter how long our race is. Christ is our example as He endured the shame and pain of the cross to redeem us from sin. Each time I wonder, “why celebrate?” God whispers in my heart, “what about Me?”.

I pray that you will hear His whispers of the heart and look to Him for a reason to rejoice.

Make a list each day of one reason to be grateful for life, one reason to be grateful for love, and one reason to be grateful for Christ in your life.

Begin today to truly value and celebrate life, love, and our Eternal Source of Hope, Jesus Christ!

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