“Where do you want these to go, Mom?” Gabriel asks. He pulls a crimson heart ornament from a wispy branch that rests in a vase on our old desk.
“In the shoebox,” I say. “Let’s wrap them in paper.”
He and I are taking down Valentine’s Day decorations. It’s late, but it’s okay. Together we’ll finish the dining room. Then we’ll pull the shiny paper hearts from the school room windows.
After that, we’ll head to the attic and swap the Valentine decorations for Easter pastels. We’ll pull breakable eggs from tissue paper. We’ll put the vintage basket on the table. We’ll decorate the now-stripped vase branches with specked eggs that look like glass.
We’re a celebrating home.
Our celebrations aren’t limited to holidays, though. We’re celebrating something, or someone, all the time. We celebrate a good grade. The completion of an Awana book. A soccer goal.
We celebrate when braces come off teeth and seconds come off a swim score. We celebrate birthdays and basketball games. We once even celebrated the gotcha-date of our beagle. We baked homemade doggie treats and he wore a strap-on party hat.
But the most wonderful thing that we celebrate is the grace we’ve received from Lord Jesus Christ.
When things are pared down, peeled back, when we peer deep enough to find what brings true acceptance, victory and joy–it’s simple.
We celebrate because we’ve been saved.
Saved from our own muck. From our own mire. From the Adam side of our skins that that would never, ever be righteous enough to bring to the eternal Kingdom of God.
But because of Jesus and His cleansing, sanctifying, live-giving gift of grace, the gates to the Father are opened wide. When the Lord looks at us when our days here are done, He will see the righteousness of Jesus.
I can’t imaging celebrating a more precious thing.
When we understand that all that we have and all that we can do and all that we will be is more than we could ever deserve, we’re celebrating grace.
When we know that on our own we’re hopeless and helpless, we’re celebrating grace.
When we find joy in the center of a struggle, we’re celebrating grace.
When we love others because He looked at our souls and saved us anyway, we’re celebrating grace.
When we claim salvation and know it has nothing to do with our merit and everything to do with His, we’re celebrating grace.
Gabriel opens a dusty, attic box and finds a pale, ceramic rabbit with pink eyes. He places it on the piano with careful, steady hands. Then he finds a cross. It was made by one of my sons, years ago, two sticks bound together with a length of fraying jute. He places it front and center on our buffet.
We’re a celebrating family.
Ever-thankful for God’s grace.