“Mom, I really miss my friends.” We’d moved to the Middle East a few months before, and my oldest – then 3. 5 years old – was really struggling with leaving our old life behind.
Her downcast look made my heart sink.
“Oh sweetheart, I know. I miss my friends so much too…” I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. But I also wanted to guide her heart to the One who comforts us. So I asked,
“What do we do when we miss our friends?”
She looked at me and said, “We cry.”
“Yes… we can definitely cry… then what else? What else can we do?”
“We can eat ice cream!” (We were conveniently right in front of a Baskin Robbins at a nearby mall…)
I burst out laughing as I hugged her tight. Why yes! ice cream helps. How did you know, sweet girl?
Eventually we finally got to “we can also pray…” 🤯🤯 And we did.😉😉
I realized that year how important celebrations would be to help ground us in the place that God was planting us. We were going through a raw season but there was more happening.
I appreciate how Jen Pollock Michel put it,
“No place is insignificant in our stories. In fact, in paying them attention, we pay attention to the salvific movement of God. Wherever we move, we may be sure of this: God always moves us toward himself.”
Because this is true we’ve cried with our kids and taught them to lament but also to celebrate. We eat ice cream and s’mores; we’ve made books with pictures of our favorite places; we enjoy local foods and have made lists of things we are thankful for about our present circumstances and the places we live. We’ve kept old traditions and started new ones. We’ve hosted fall festivals and fondue nights. We love exploring new cities and markets, getting away to the ocean and riding traditional boats.
Celebrating is not just a distraction or a way to turn an eye away from the hard. It is a prophetic act that says, “I know how it will all end, redemption is at work. So I will pay attention to what God is doing and honor his continual salvation.”
What are some ways your family celebrates together even when going through difficult seasons?