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Today we put the finishing touches on our introduction to The Celebration of God.
So far we’ve discussed the philosophy and framework of the program and look forward to applying what we’ve learned in our daily lives and relationships.
Today’s topic is one I introduced on Episode 11, but I didn’t have enough time to really help us appreciate the value of the component nor provide enough ideas for how to create one for your home.
But, before we discuss Your Celebration Wall, I want to personally invite you to follow me on Parler, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I love redeeming social media and making it a place where Christians can be built up in Christ. So, I hope — if you use any of those programs — you’ll join me there.
And don’t forget that I’ll include helpful ideas for creating your Celebration Wall in today’s episode notes at CelebrationOfGod.com.
There are 4 main points I’d like to make about this thing we’re calling the Celebration Wall. Let’s look at its Purpose, Location, Personalization, and Interaction.
On episode 11 we read Deuteronomy 6 and were reminded how important it is to have visual reminders of God and His goodness.
Earlier in the introduction we also talked about how the Israelites set up a monument as they entered the Promised Land. They did that so that everyone who saw it would be reminded of the powerful works God did to keep His promises.
And that’s why we’re encouraging you to create a Celebration Wall. It’s a visual reminder of God’s goodness. It keeps our the Celebration of God ever-present before our eyes.
What I’ve found is that this concept is strangely foreign to our modern world. We’ll ask Siri to set a reminder, we use various scheduling apps, we’ll even put Post-It notes and 3x5 cards around our house and workspaces, but the idea of displaying a verse or image designed to draw our minds to spiritual Truth seems strange.
And there are legitimate historical precedents for that reticence. For example, in Exodus 20 the Lord records the 10 Commandments, of which number 2 states: “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
God wants us to worship Him, not some human creation designed to replace or even represent Him.
People who have been saved out of idol worship are also very careful about this.
Iconoclasm is the practice of removing and or destroying images and statues used for religious purposes. Those extreme attacks against even paintings featuring Jesus grew out of an extreme application of God’s prohibition against idolatry.
But I like what Martin Luther argued. Obviously he would have been against idolatry of any form, but to the iconoclasts he argued that imagining Jesus’ face during the meditation on Scripture was no different than painting it and was biblically acceptable as long as it reminded us of Him and was not a substitute for Him.
The Catholic Church has long been a branch of professed Christianity that overvalues iconic representations of Jesus. There is no value in kissing a crucifix, we won’t receive any special gifting or blessing by doing so. It would be better to turn our full attention to Christ in His Word and through prayer.
And I mention all of this because I recognize that there are many stigmas attached to the idea of having a place in your home dedicated to memorializing what God has done for you, your family, and your church.
But this is where we must say, “If it will help me truly know, love, and serve God better, and if it will help me disciple those in my life, then let’s do it!”
I believe I shouldn’t have to say this, but to avoid any confusion on the subject, The Celebration Wall is not a place to worship God with religious rites and activities. Nothing on this wall is special or intrinsically blessed. All they are are memorials designed to point our minds to the God they commemorate.
That is the purpose . . . to keep God and His glory ever before our, our church’s, our students, and our family’s eyes.
And that leads to. . . .
It wouldn’t be a very good idea to hide our Celebration Wall under a bushel. God wants us to be the light of the world to draw others to Him, that means that our devotion for God should be visible to us, those under our care, and anyone who may see it.
By placing it in a central or well-traveled location of your home, classroom, church, or office, you not only keep it in the center of your attention, it can also be seen by visitors and acts as a fantastic conversation piece that beautifully gives you multiple ways to present the Gospel.
My family has our Celebration Wall in our Dining Room which happens to be the central room in our home. You can’t enter the front door without seeing it. It’s also big enough that it won’t get mistaken as cork board or piece of art. But we’ll talk about how you can personalize it shortly.
And we recommend that you can have as many Celebration Walls as you desire. You could have the main Wall in your living room or kitchen, and then have smaller boards with more specific detail in the bedrooms.
If you’re a Christian school teacher, you could easily dedicate one of your bulletin boards to a Celebration Wall.
I believe it would be a good testimony and valuable asset to have one in your cubical or office. Obviously, the size is going to change depending on the space, but that’s all part of the personalization as well.
I also think it’s a great idea for churches to have a Celebration Wall in their foyer.
If you’re a dentist, you can put it in your waiting room. I think you get the idea.
The purpose is so that born again believers will be reminded of God when they see it.
And this is so valuable because we’re engaged in spiritual warfare wherein Satan is desperately trying to distract us from Truth. The Bible also says that demonic forces are at work to actively steal away Truth from our minds. We need all the help we can get.
When you understand the necessity of being pointed back to God, you start to get excited about binding Scripture on your hands and writing them on your doorposts and on your gates.
The idea of drawing our mind back to God is amazing, but this step is where we start having fun by exercising the creativity with which God made us
You, my friends, have the freedom to create this space to your liking. Yes, it has basic jobs it needs to accomplish, and so function is a consideration, but — just like decorating for Christmas — I want you and your family and your students and your church to really enjoy looking at and using your Celebration Wall.
So, you could even choose to call it something different.
I really wanted to have a catchy title for it that everyone would understand and want to use. I admit that “Celebration Wall” wasn’t as catchy and cool as I would have hoped, but it definitely communicates what it needs to communicate without any unnecessary baggage.
I mentioned earlier that I would have liked to use the term Family Altar, but there is so much connotative meaning behind that term and those words that I feared it may distract more than it helps.
But I want to encourage you to have fun with this.
Some of the ideas I’ve received from TLP listeners include “Celebration Station” and JOY Wall where J.O.Y. stands for Jubilant Observation of Yahweh.
Now, that’s being creative!
And I desperately want you and the people in your life to enjoy this process.
For that reason, you should also plan to personalize it for your space and participants. Keep these ideas in mind:
1. It should match the decor of the space. Let’s not give the worship of God a bad name by having it look tacky.
2. It should reflect your own personal style. My family loves all things natural, so we plan to use a lot of wood, flora, and the like. But you may prefer a metal theme.
Many families use chalkboards for their family reminders. That too would be a great idea. Perhaps you could even renovate the front of the refrigerator to be your Celebration Wall . . . or Door.
You could frame it, it could be a cork board, white board, bulletin board, it could be a tree on which you hang the Scriptures and reminders, it could be a tabletop or shelving unit.
If you have small children, you can use bright colors and allow it to change as they mature.
My family has a wooden foundation with space for things to be posted but also shelves on which to set items that will focus our minds during the specific season and holidays of the year.
The sky is the limit, and I encourage you and your people to enjoy yourself and really explore the possibilities. You could even get started with a simple cork board or chalkboard as you prepare something more grandiose for later on.
So, we’ve learned that the Celebration Wall has a divine purpose and so should be placed in a prominent location. But we can also personalize it to our necessities and preferences.
But what exactly is going to be on the Celebration Wall? What are we going to do with it?
That’s our final point for the day.
How can you expect to interact with this board every year, season, and holiday? Will it always look the same? What’s the content?
There are four main ways you will interact with Your Celebration Wall, and the first step will be preparing it.
A. Prepare the Celebration Wall.
This step refers to creating, building, or collecting the basic foundation that will remain on the wall all year or until you choose to renovate it.
At the top of my Wall I have a sign that reads “Celebration of God.” I don’t want there being any doubt to my family or visitors what the purpose of this space is.
Below that can be a space for a rotating season marker. I recommend it say “Season of Mercy” or simple “Life” or “Power.” It will be valuable to keep the Season marker up for the full three months and change it in the new season.
But is “Season of Mercy” enough? Perhaps for a church or family who’s been doing this for a while and could quote the focus of the Seasons and holidays they may forgo it, but as this is the first time you’ll be participating, I would include a description of the Season. You can download and print the images from Celebration of God to aid in this.
There should also be a space large enough for a Monthly Calendar that lists all the major and minor holidays of the month so people will learn to anticipate what’s coming next. Of course, you’re welcome to make this as large as you like or format it in such a way that the entire season of holiday’s is visible. It’s up to you.
But here’s the most important piece of the Celebration Wall. Even if there were nothing else on the board, you absolutely need space for passages of Scripture. Whether it’s a verse or a longer passage, we want to create a space that draws our minds back to God and His Word.
You can use this as a place to hang your family’s Scripture memory, but I recommend it be unique to the Season and holidays. Perhaps your church can work to memorize a couple passages for the season, but then also spend some time memorizing verses specific to the holiday.
Another very important addition may be a space for prayer requests and/or answers to prayer. These can — of course — be general requests and praises, but I believe there’s great benefit in having everything on the Wall follow the theme of the Season and Holiday.
So, those are the core elements. You want words that remind whoever is using it of its purpose. Putting a header above it that reads “Celebration of God,” “JOY Wall,” “Celebration Station,” or whatever you decide needs to be able to draw everyone’s minds to God.
Then you need space for a Season Marker, holiday markers, descriptions, calendars, prayer prompts, but — most importantly — Scripture.
Once you have all those elements — or at least the spaces devoted to those elements — then you need to . . .
B. Fill the Celebration Wall
I see this including two steps. However, only one will be necessary.
The less necessary element would be decorating it.
I love decorating, however my wife isn’t so fond of it. I can imagine that I will frame my Celebration Wall with leaves during the Autumn, colored lights during Winter, Flowers during Spring, and greenery during Summer. Those are pretty basic ideas, but they fit the theme of our Celebration Wall very well.
I think most of you will want to take some time to enjoy this step. Whether you’re decorating for a Season of for a specific holiday, enjoy it and get your disciplees involved. Whether it’s your children, church, students, or friends, you should make decorating the Celebration Wall a big deal.
We want to attach happy feelings and joyful memories to this Wall because we don’t want out children viewing it as a chore or a stuffy religious activity. This Wall is identical to going to college and our your boyfriend or girlfriend’s picture on your mirror. It’s the same idea as the cork board you had in your room where you put your photos and ticket stubs and mementos — each one drawing your mind back to the joy of the occasion.
Only, this Wall represents the most beautiful relationship in your life. It’s a reminder of your great God. What does it say if we can’t enjoy using, looking at, and interacting with our Celebration Wall?
But whether you choose to decorate it or not, you need to allow it to do it’s job by memorializing it. Post the verses, fill in the prayer prompts, set out trinkets and examples of God’s goodness in order to commemorate what He did in your family.
Let me give you an example. For my entire life, my mother would make our family handmade ornaments. Some of them had obvious meanings: for example, when my children were born, my mother made a tiny gift box with a tag that said, “To: Aaron and Johanna, From: God.”
But she also commemorated my first job at Boston Market by purchasing a little toy roasted chicken and roasting pot and affixing a Boston Market logo to it along with a thread from which to hang it and some Christmas greenery.
She did this for first jobs, marriages, births, and the like. But she also sometimes created ornaments designed to draw our minds to deeper biblical Truth. One year she made a simple cross out of wood and red thread. Another year she handmade tiny leather notebooks in which we could record the blessings from the year.
So, as we apply this concept to our Celebration Walls, I can see putting representations of some of our blessings on the shelves during Thanksgiving. Perhaps a miniature house to represent the shelter he’s provided. Even something more metaphorical like a cornucopia could work.
A nativity scene during Christmas would be perfect, and the list goes on and one.
But whatever you choose, you absolutely must not forget the third step.
C. Teach the Celebration Wall.
I heard a story about a girl who asked her mother why she always cut the ends off her ham before she baked it. Her mother wasn’t exactly sure why she did it. But the question got the mother wondering. On a whim, she called her mother whom she had watched cut the ends off her ham as well, but apparently her mother was just as much in the dark as she was.
Plagued with curiosity, they both reached out to the Great Grandmother who knowingly said, “Our ovens were always so small, a whole ham wouldn’t fit, so I cut the ends off to make room.”
And of course her daughter watched her do that her whole life, and so she too cut the ends off her ham. And her daughter did the same, and only now did the great granddaughter question this strange tradition.
My friends, there’s only one thing that’s worse than forgetting why we do what we do . . . it’s never having been taught in the first place.
I can promise you that sacraments and religious activities that should have been filling born again believers with great joy have become a millstone because the participants don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing.
You may know why you set a cornucopia on your table during Thanksgiving — you see it and are reminded of all the glorious blessings God has packed into your life, but your children only see a pretty decoration. Likely, they’ll have a cornucopia on their table — in fact, they may fight over yours — but they’ll never know why you put it out unless you tell them.
This goes for everything.
Using the Celebration Wall is always going to involve teaching those around me why everything is there. We need to talk about the significance of the verses. We need to point out the answers to prayer. We need to explain how this holiday and season looks forward to the next and looks backward to the prior. We need to explain how the tokens and symbols hanging on the Wall are supposed to draw our minds to God’s character and deeds.
Otherwise what should be a sacred memorial that reminds us of the relationship we have with our living Lord becomes a piece of modern art — stripped of all significance.
So, once you’ve prepared the foundation of your Wall, you need to fill it with the necessary Scripture and items that will drag your minds back to Christ. Of course, you’ll need to take the time — multiple times — every year to remind your church and students and family how each of the items on the Wall remind us of God’s character and deeds.
And lastly . . .
D. Update the Celebration Wall.
In preparation and anticipation for the new season, you will want to have new verses ready and new items prepared to update and decorate the Wall. You’ll want to keep it fresh for each holiday. We wouldn’t want our Celebration Wall getting stale.
There’s a tendency with humans to become blind to that with which we’re most familiar.
I love the smell of cinnamon that wafts from Christmas stores, but the employees can no longer smell it. Sometimes we stop to really stare at the images on our walls because we’ve honestly forgotten what they look like. What’s even more sad is that we actually do this with our families. They become so familiar that we start to take them for granted.
We don’t want to become blind to God. We don’t want the Celebration Wall to become a boring, unused collection of things that used to mean something.
It may sound like extra work to keep the Wall fresh, but it’s worth it. The changing holidays and seasons provide a schedule around which you can build the habit of self-control to make the things of God important.
And if you’re the kind of person who gets clammy just thinking about Pinterest, relax. This is supposed to be a blessing. Yes, maturity takes work and sacrifice. In fact, I’m not sure if you’ve ever really considered it before, but growth always requires death.
Leaves have to die. Seeds have to decay. Cells in your body replicated and die off. On this broken world, growth and maturity always involves the death of the former. Jesus calls us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him. There is a cost, and keeping your Celebration Wall up to date is a small sacrifice to daily remind ourselves that God deserves our worship and praise and adoration and celebration.
So, a good compromise would be to start small. Start simple. Allow your Celebration Wall to be a visual representation of your own personal spiritual journey and growth in your sanctification. Perhaps it will start with a Post-It note of a verse to remind you of the Lord’s Second Coming or the freedom He purchased on the cross.
And then that can grow into more and more and more as you learn to enjoy celebrating Him.
This episode originally posted before August — with more than enough time to get your Wall together. Of course, some of you won’t hear it until later. Regardless of when you’re listening to this, don’t rush your Celebration Wall, but don’t drag your feet either.
The Celebration of God as a personal and corporate discipleship program will work much better when you utilize the Celebration Wall. That’s why it’s a core component of the program.
Thank you for your patience today. It was a full episode.
Please share it on your favorite social media outlets, and join us next time as we start the first official episode of The Year Long Celebration of God.
We’ll be discussing how to prepare, celebrate, and disciple through the Season of Mercy. It will include how to prepare your Celebration Wall including verse recommendations, prayer prompts, and ideas for drawing others into the celebration with you.
The Year Long Celebration of God is a discipleship experience designed to equip followers of Christ to better know, love, and worship Him as they help others in their lives do the same. We exalt God, teach His people how to practically worship Him every day of the year, and train them to disciple others.
Whether it's a small group, church, classroom, one-on-one, or community relationship, this resource is guaranteed to draw people closer together as they draw closer to God.
AMBrewster is the creator of The Year Long Celebration of God and host of its podcast.