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Spiritual Formation


Celebrating with Others

January 30, 2020
By Joshua Stines


This past week, I celebrated with my Spiritual Disciplines class the end of a long but good semester. We took time to reflect on the semester while enjoying Coca-Cola/ice cream floats. Our discussion ranged from debriefing about what went well to what challenged us the most! As I listened to my students share, I was reminded of all the ways they challenged me that I did not anticipate when going into the semester. From the questions they asked, to hearing about their experiences of the disciplines, I learned and grew alongside them. After thanking them for the opportunity, I took time to pray over them. This time left me feeling an overwhelming sense of joy as I was reminded of why I love doing what I do. In a sense, I felt energized and renewed. 

I imagine that this feeling of energy and renewal is part of what Richard Foster was referring to when he wrote, "Celebration brings joy into life, and joy makes us strong" (Foster 2018, 191). Joy is a natural outcome of celebration. How can it not be? 

My experience with my students left me wondering how much joy I pass up each day. How much joy do I miss out on because I am already thinking about the next thing on my to-do list? How much joy do I miss out on because I don’t pause long enough to celebrate and be thankful?

I suppose the only way for me to truly know is to continue finding ways to celebrate and give thanks in everything—the big, the small, and everything in between. My hunch is that when I do, I will be surprised to find joy in places I never would have thought of. That was certainly my experience this week from my time with my students and our Coca-Cola/ice cream floats!


Foster, Richard. Celebration of Discipline. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.