I'm trying to learn how to celebrate better.
I don't know if it's my first-born, practical child syndrome....or laziness....or a desire to not make a mess or create extra chaos.....but I have to admit, I'm not great at extravagant fun. You know, those big, complicated, fun occasions that require extra time, work, and organizing.
I see it in my uncomfortability with the craziness of Children's Ministry and my generally tidy house. I rarely send birthday cards. Or if I do, they're usually late. And if I'm honest, one of the most important things I want my children to learn, after loving God, is to clear the table, load the dishwasher, and clean the kitchen after a big family meal.
Which is why I think Romans 12:15 is so interesting. Paul is describing what love looks like, and instructs us to "rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."
Rejoicing with someone who is rejoicing means entering into their joy. It's not a momentary congratulations, but it's a party....it's busting out the tablecloths and chocolate fountain (even though it's a bear to clean)...it's putting everything else on hold, even if only for a few minutes to acknowledge God's goodness. And honestly, sometimes I need to see God's goodness in someone else's life in order to help recognize it in my own.
In the same way, mourning takes time.
I was studying this passage with some friends right after the Boston Marathon bombing, and we talked about how easy it is to say, "oh, how awful", and then go on with our day. But mourning with those who mourn means pausing to enter in to the pain and sadness of someone else. It means asking ourselves, "I wonder what it would feel like if I had been the one to lose my son?" or "I wonder what kinds of guilt or regret or anger they must be experiencing?". It means walking with people for longer than a day or a week; it means reminding them they're not alone, being "joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer".
I want to be a person who feels deeper and celebrates bigger. Because that's what love does.