it’s a celebration.

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On Mondays, we go and feed the homeless. It’s especially weird to go from super luxurious North Scottsdale to a parking lot to serve hot dogs and day old cake. Not that either one is better or worse, but it’s certainly a contrast.

We laugh and see new friends, check up on old friends and try to practice that “pure & undefiled religion” James talks about. We eat, learn about Jesus, and sing. Oh and we laugh. Loudly. Tonight, the lady was preaching and I was sitting next to one of my small friends. She pretends to be shy, but she’s not really. She wants to be a police woman when she grows up so she can protect people. The word tonight was from Jeremiah 29:11. I looked at my friend and said, “You know she’s talking to you right? He has big plans for you!” She stared. She usually does, but she smiles too. “The Bible says God will give you the desires of your heart- what do you really want?”

“A birthday party.”

Dang.

Growing up, I had the best birthday parties and this was way before Pinterest. Every year. My mom never missed one. Birthday parties are more than cake and decorations and presents- they’re about being celebrated because you are just you! You didn’t do any work to be born, you didn’t earn it…you were just you.

I want that little friend to know how celebrated she is. Of course, I want to throw a birthday party, but more than that I want her to know how over the moon Jesus is for her and there are plans for her life. Big ones.

When I went to summer camp, the counselors did this skit around the camp fire. Someone would pretend to have a present and talk about how awesome it was. The more they shared the present with people, the bigger it got. One person decided not to share the present and it shrunk until it disappeared. Β In the end they revealed that the present was love: the only thing that grows the more you give it away. The really amazing thing about celebrating other people is that it doesn’t mean you are celebrated less. It means you get to experience more joy. The more you embrace being loved and celebrated yourself, the more you can celebrate others.

I want to live my life in such a way that I let other people be celebrated so they can be introduced to the One who dances over them. Jesus- let me embrace more of who I am so I can help people embrace more of You.

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