50 Days of Celebration

So most people know that Lent is about self-discipline. Giving things up and fasting are the most well known disciplines, but there are others like silence and confession. Stuff like this is called “disciplines of abstinence,” for obvious reasons. You’re not doing things, either because you shouldn’t be doing them, or because taking a break from them helps you re-engage with them more healthily.

But that’s only one kind of spiritual discipline. There are also spiritual disciplines of engagement and service. And one of my favorites is celebration. Yes – celebration is a spiritual discipline. Awesome, eh? Celebration is what Easter is all about. Thankfulness, yes, but just plain rejoicing – looking at how blessed we are, and making the most of it.

Last night I got a silly idea that is not so silly; it’s happy-silly, not dumb-silly. Basically, every day from Easter through Pentecost, I want to do at least one thing to engage in the discipline of celebration. I’ll try to record it here on the blog to keep myself accountable – my tendency, I know, will be to “celebrate” by indulgence and consumption. That’s okay (see today’s item below), but celebration is also about people – spending time with them, serving them, being served by them, etc. It’s also about praise – celebration is an upward movement as much as it is outward, because of what we are celebrating. During fall, we will be celebrating the harvest, the culmination of our work with what we were given. But in the spring, we know we didn’t do anything to make the warmth come back, the sun stay longer, and the grass grow. So we celebrate up, even more than out.

That’s my challenge. Wanna join?

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Easter Sunday: Awesome party with cool people; cast on a new (and extremely shiny) skirt with some novelty yarn that’s been maturing in the stash for a few years now.

Easter Monday: All day Dungeons and Dragons marathon. Said marathon included birthday cupcakes and baby cuddling.

Tuesday in Easter Week: Stayed up late with Roommate A as she finished her thesis. Doesn’t sound celebratory, but I think it was – like attending a birth is. Except, instead of hearing those lovely newborn peals as soon as the ordeal is over, we have to wait to wait for a board of professors to pass judgment on this infant.

Wednesday in Easter Week: Study party at the ‘Bux with Roommate A, Hubsband, and tall salted caramel hot chocolate with skim milk and no whipped cream. I’m a little bit of a yuppie; it’s in my blood.

What else should we do? I need ideas; this season spans the end of the school year, so I’ll be working hard nearly every day, and it will take actual discipline to not just call a handful of Cheez-its my celebration for the day. It’s NaPoWriMo; I’m certainly not going to write a poem for every day, but producing poetry is at least a potentially appropriate way to praise and celebrate. Spring produce is out, and making and sharing food is a very ancient way to celebrate. What do you think?

aside/note bene/post-script: If you haven’t already, you should check out Richard Foster’s classic Celebration of Discipline, which outlines all twelve traditional disciplines and gives practical advice on how to try them out.

7 thoughts on “50 Days of Celebration

  1. Linda says:

    I’m thinking about this. For Easter, I gave myself an entire day of celebration: I took down a yarn stash grouping that was 8 years old….21 different blacks, golds, and silvers, and I swatched with it, eventually starting a sweater. I drank heavenly coffee, went to Mass, enjoyed an Easter egg hunt with my little daughter and her cousin, I watched golf for 2 hours with my mom, and I watched the end of the golf with my patient hubby. But I only get perfect days like that rarely, once a month if I’m extremely lucky….twice a year is more normal.

    So how can I celebrate on ordinary days? Well, yesterday I shared a wee dye problem with Jesus and He actually walked me through the whole procedure! Day before that I read a poem out loud about knitting instead of only reading it silently. I’ve done that with Pslams too…..nothing like reading the Bible out loud! Monday night I sat next to my husband instead of remaining at my “knitting couch” with all my stuff. Yesterday I said yes to my middle daughter when she wanted to come home for the weekend a day early….and re-scheduled a bunch of things around her visit.

    So maybe the answer for me will be to go the “extra mile” in itty bitty ways.

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  2. I hadn’t really thought of Easter being a time discipline, let alone celebration as a time of that discipline (I guess each day is a day of discipline if we let it be). Something I just started working on (like, literally started yesterday, lol) is a Family gratitude journal – which is just what you were talking about, celebrating. And celebrating the small things while taking time to notice those sometimes tiny gifts. I got the idea from A Holy Experience (excellent blog). She offers all kinds of free print outs to make your own journals, gifts, cards, calendars, etc. So I have the gratitude journal that I strung together yesterday on our table for anyone to write in when they are thankful for something. Another part of the gratitude will be writing to friends and family that I am thankful for (celebrating people?!). So I printed out some post cards on 4×6 card stock, ready to go when someone comes to mind.

    Are we technically is “ordinary time after easter” or does “easter” last until Pentecost? I need to look at the calendar. I’ve been trying to reorganize how I view seasons and time around the Church calendar, but it’s a difficult shift! Ha! Since college ended I still thought in “semesters” – it just made sense. Or spring, fall, etc… I started by organizing my pictures by “Advent, Christmas, Epiphany” “Lent, Easter”, etc. I figured I had to start somewhere! Ha!

    I am having my BFF from college visit today for the weekend, what a great way to celebrate people! Also, my SIL is due with her 4th baby next week.Then hubby’s bday, Ella’s bday, and my bday. I guess there will be lots of opportunity for celebrating in the weeks to come.

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  3. Oh, and why 50 days? I thought it was 40 days until Pentecost? Or does the 50 include weekends or something shady like that?

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  4. Rebecca says:

    Hey Michelle – There is no “ordinary time after easter” :) Catholics don’t start ordinary time until after Pentecost; you should see at church that the whole season is white or gold linens! It’s also called “eastertide,” and it lasts until pentecost, which is followed by “pentecosttide.” The 50 days includes Sundays, lol, and it is not shady because Sundays are always days of celebration! It’s 40 days until ascension; that might be what you’re thinking of.

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  5. Oh, dur. Yes, ascension was what I was thinking of :) I got off my butt at looked at my Calendar. Never realized that Easter lasted until Pentecost (clearly I’ve been paying attention these 5 years). :)

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  6. Rebecca says:

    Ha. You’re awesome, Michelle.

    Seretha and I were out trying to come up with party favors for a bridal shower today, and I kept thinking “Michelle would come up with something cute!” we want to do jelly bellys, in a little vial or bottle or something, with different colors layered like sand art when we were kids…. found the jelly bellys, now need to find something to use as a bottle… ideas?

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  7. Bummer! I missed this! :( Well, for future reference (?) carafes. Empty clear wine or spirits bottles. Vases. What did you end up doing?

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