Jesus: Celebrator of Life

Celebrator of Life Facebook 2

Jesus: Celebrator of Life

November 30, 2019

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. – Oprah Winfrey    

‘Tis the season to celebrate. Cookie and Ornament Exchanges, Ugly Sweater Soirees, Secret Santa Gifts, Office Potlucks, Caroling Outings, Tree-trimming Parties, Family Get-Togethers, Christmas Movie Marathons… the list goes on and on…  

Personally, I love all of it. Oddly enough, at one time I believed I shouldn’t… love it all or even at all

Celebrations in our culture often carry the connotation of sin. At one time my friends and I actually defined sin as “anything and everything fun”.

My immature understanding of Christianity led me to believe following Jesus meant giving up all forms of fun. But as I read through the gospel of John, I acquired another snapshot of Jesus:

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. (John 2:1-2 NIV)

A wedding represented one of the most important social events of the time. Because relatives often traveled far distances in order to honor the newlywed couple, these became great opportunities for reconnection. Characterized by joyful singing and dancing, the wedding festivities lasted several days. 

Not only does the Bible place Jesus in the midst of this festive event, it also records how His contribution ensured its success.

Wine played a significant role at a wedding feast. Custom dictated the groom’s family to provide enough wine for every day of the wedding celebration. Failure to do so caused people to doubt the groom’s ability to provide for his wife. The social disgrace of running out of wine would definitely damper the joyful celebration and taint the new couple’s reputation for years to come.

When the hosts of the wedding ran out of wine, Mary, the mother of Jesus, enlisted His help. Procuring more wine would have been no easy task. These days predated debit cards and grocery stores. Wine took time to produce.

Although at first Jesus seemed hesitant, He performed His first miracle by changing water into wine. When the servants handed the wine to the master of the banquet, he immediately recognized its quality:

Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” (John 2:9b-10 NIV)

A cursory reading of the above Scripture caused me to struggle. Did Jesus provide the best wine so the guests could celebrate by overindulging? I always understood drunkenness to be sin. To be sure, the Bible leaves no doubt (Galatians 5:21).

As I studied this passage, I came to understand the following:

  • The wine of Jesus’ time did not carry the same alcohol content as today. Common practice dictated diluting the wine with water.
  • The adjective “best” indicated taste, not potency.
  • Even if others indulged in too much wine, Jesus did not. He never sinned. (I Peter 2:22)
  • Jesus provided the wine to save the newlywed couple social disgrace and to testify to His deity (John 2:11)

Far from being a social recluse and the killer of fun, Jesus served his neighbors as He celebrated their life events. And He did it all without compromising His integrity or character. He perfectly modeled for us how to celebrate life.

Now, more than ever, people need to see a different way to celebrate. In particular, people like me need to see Christians enjoying life to the full (John 10:10), without compromising their convictions. Simply put: 

Be a light as you celebrate life.

I love this season’s unique opportunities for celebrations with friends and families. As I travel down the road during this holiday season, I pray to shine with His light. Wherever the road takes you this holiday season, I pray the same for you.

Jesus: Celebrator of Life

November 30, 2019

Celebrator of Life Facebook 2

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. – Oprah Winfrey    

‘Tis the season to celebrate. Cookie and Ornament Exchanges, Ugly Sweater Soirees, Secret Santa Gifts, Office Potlucks, Caroling Outings, Tree-trimming Parties, Family Get-Togethers, Christmas Movie Marathons… the list goes on and on…  

Personally, I love all of it. Oddly enough, at one time I believed I shouldn’t… love it all or even at all

Celebrations in our culture often carry the connotation of sin. At one time my friends and I actually defined sin as “anything and everything fun”.

My immature understanding of Christianity led me to believe following Jesus meant giving up all forms of fun. But as I read through the gospel of John, I acquired another snapshot of Jesus:

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. (John 2:1-2 NIV)

A wedding represented one of the most important social events of the time. Because relatives often traveled far distances in order to honor the newlywed couple, these became great opportunities for reconnection. Characterized by joyful singing and dancing, the wedding festivities lasted several days. 

Not only does the Bible place Jesus in the midst of this festive event, it also records how His contribution ensured its success.

Wine played a significant role at a wedding feast. Custom dictated the groom’s family to provide enough wine for every day of the wedding celebration. Failure to do so caused people to doubt the groom’s ability to provide for his wife. The social disgrace of running out of wine would definitely damper the joyful celebration and taint the new couple’s reputation for years to come.

When the hosts of the wedding ran out of wine, Mary, the mother of Jesus, enlisted His help. Procuring more wine would have been no easy task. These days predated debit cards and grocery stores. Wine took time to produce.

Although at first Jesus seemed hesitant, He performed His first miracle by changing water into wine. When the servants handed the wine to the master of the banquet, he immediately recognized its quality:

Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” (John 2:9b-10 NIV)

A cursory reading of the above Scripture caused me to struggle. Did Jesus provide the best wine so the guests could celebrate by overindulging? I always understood drunkenness to be sin. To be sure, the Bible leaves no doubt (Galatians 5:21).

As I studied this passage, I came to understand the following:

  • The wine of Jesus’ time did not carry the same alcohol content as today. Common practice dictated diluting the wine with water.
  • The adjective “best” indicated taste, not potency.
  • Even if others indulged in too much wine, Jesus did not. He never sinned. (I Peter 2:22)
  • Jesus provided the wine to save the newlywed couple social disgrace and to testify to His deity (John 2:11)

Far from being a social recluse and the killer of fun, Jesus served his neighbors as He celebrated their life events. And He did it all without compromising His integrity or character. He perfectly modeled for us how to celebrate life.

Now, more than ever, people need to see a different way to celebrate. In particular, people like me need to see Christians enjoying life to the full (John 10:10), without compromising their convictions. Simply put: 

Be a light as you celebrate life.

I love this season’s unique opportunities for celebrations with friends and families. As I travel down the road during this holiday season, I pray to shine with His light. Wherever the road takes you this holiday season, I pray the same for you.

4 Comments

  1. Sharon on December 2, 2019 at 3:43 AM

    Beautifully written and explained! I loved the way you helped me to understand the drinking of wine at the wedding. I didn’t study the type of wine back in Jesus’s time and relate it to taste, always thought it had to do with the alcohol content. Thank you for this lesson on true understanding of this passage.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on December 2, 2019 at 6:27 AM

      Sharon, thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate your feedback!

  2. Charla on December 6, 2019 at 6:36 PM

    Shirley, well-written and well-balanced. Of all miracles, this is not only the first recorded, it is also one of the most discussed/debated. The culture must be considered and the truth of Christ’s celebration without sin must stand solid. I love to have fun and my life in Christ illuminates “pure” joy; a kind of celebrating that never leaves me feeling guilt or shame (believe me, I know the difference!). Thank you for sharing!

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on December 8, 2019 at 4:17 PM

      Thank you Charla. I love how as Christians we can celebrated without regret. Thank you for sharing!

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