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November 26 – The (He)art of celebration

“It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.” – Luke 15:32

Scripture reading: Luke 15:32; Psalm 107:1-9

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. It is a day to celebrate our Father’s lavish gifts to us in creation and redemption. In Luke 15, each parable ends with a celebration of redemption. Let’s think about the heart and the art of celebration. Let’s use the story-line of redemption – guilt, grace, gratitude – to fuel celebration.

Imagine Little Brother at the party. Humble awe overwhelms him as he considers past guilt. He does not deserve such lavish love and celebration! He had turned his back on his father. He had said, “I want your stuff, not you.” He had squandered one-third of the estate. At Christian celebrations, big brothers and little brothers remember together that they are unworthy of their place at the Father’s table.

Memories of past guilt intensify Little Brother’s marvel at his father’s grace. His father had not only received him back as his son, he had done so with lavish joy and generosity. Against the dark backdrop of our guilt, our Father’s amazing grace for us in Christ shines still more. At Christian celebrations, big brothers and little brothers bask in God’s grace together.

The wonder of such grace in the face of such guilt floods Little Brother with gratitude. When wonder fills you for all God has done for you in Christ, it overflows in thanksgiving and praise. Big brothers and little brothers declare, “Let me tell you what the Lord has done for me!” Their lives, also, become offerings of gratitude (Romans 12:1-2).

Suggestions for prayer

Acknowledge out loud what the Lord has done for you. Ask Him to fill your heart with gratitude today.

Rev. Richard Zekveld is the pastor of the Covenant Fellowship Church (PCA) in South Holland, Illinois, a Chicagoland suburb. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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