The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

 
One of our favorite children’s books, Miss Muddle’s Holidays, tells the tale of a playful old woman who moves into a new neighborhood. As the children on her street watch closely, they notice that Miss Muddle is a bit different than the rest of the neighbors. Plainly put, Miss Muddle is just MORE fun. You see, Miss Muddle is constantly celebrating. Not surprisingly, the children in the neighborhood are drawn to this interesting new neighbor, and as they get to know her, they learn about Miss Muddle’s holidays, special days set aside each month to celebrate the turn of the calendar page. 
 
On the day that Miss Muddle spies the first robin of spring, she celebrates by hanging colorful ribbons on her trees so her feathered guest will have something with which to build a nest. On the first day of summer, Miss Muddle dons her bathing suit and dances beneath the sprinkler in her yard. And so she celebrates the simple joys of each season, drawing more and more children into the fun as she goes. The first time we read this delightful book, Hannah wistfully ran her fingers across the cheery book’s front cover and said wistfully: “I wish Miss Muddle lived in OUR neighborhood.”
 
 
Without a doubt, there is power in celebration.  Celebration infuses our demanding world of must-dos and over-dues with delight. It slips some miraculous into our monotony and lifts our eyes from the daily grind to the divine. Celebration reminds us that life isn’t a race. It is a gift to be relished. 
 
 
That’s why a few weeks ago on a chilly Friday morning, Joshua and I invited his friends over to celebrate pumpkins. We played silly games and painted our own masterpieces and read The Pumpkin Patch Parable, a beautiful tale that captures the gospel through the story of a kind farmer and his hand-picked jack-o-lantern. 
 
Our morning was marked by laughter. Noise. Smiles. And Joshua’s frequent exclamation of wonder–“Isn’t this fun? And it’s NOT even my birthday!” The party could have been dubbed a “praise party.” After all, it was a simple declaration of God’s good gifts….jolly orange pumpkins, jumping children, and jubilant laughter. When all that was left from our celebration spree were empty juice cups and saggy streamers, we felt more alive. And more grateful. 
 
 
In her delightful book, Growing Grateful Kids, Susie Larson writes: “Why is it important not only to play with our children but also to help them engage in their own fun playtimes? Simply said, in both good and bad times, life is a precious gift worth celebrating.”
 
Celebration helps us to squash our human tendency to take simple pleasures for granted.  It reminds us that small things- butterflies and birds, pumpkins and parades- add up to BIG JOY. 
 
Author Shauna Niequest agrees:
 
Life is a collection of a million, billion, moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous glowing pearls. And strung together, built upon one another, lined up through the days and the years, they make a life, a person. IT takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies.  But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that movie–score–worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, (brown) daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets– this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience.    I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold (Cold Tangerines).
 
So, if you want to give your children a BIG gift, consider finding something SMALL to celebrate today-– leaf piles or ladybugs, flashlights or finger paint. As you celebrate, you’ll be teaching your children about God. Author Susie Larson reminds us that  when we laugh and play and celebrate, we model our Heavenly Father’s heart, and we make it easy for our kids to understand just how wonderful He is. God has given us time, space, and every day items with which to celebrate life (Growing Grateful Kids).
 
If you don’t believe me, just ask Miss Muddle!




The Overflow: Celebrate all the good things that God, your God, has given you and your family.. -Dt. 26:10
 
 
 
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