As believers, joy should bubble forth from our lives. "Rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Lk 10:20).

The angel announced Christ’s entrance into the world with “great joy” (Lk 2:10). Jesus, near the end of His time on earth spoke to His followers, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (Jn 15:11). Jesus began His public ministry “proclaiming the year of jubilee” or the Lord’s favour (Lk 4:18,19). This was prophesied about Him by Isaiah when He would “preach good news to the poor...proclaim freedom for the prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind and release for the oppressed” (Isa 61:1-3). Who wouldn’t give a shout of rejoicing when set free from such conditions? “Be joyful always...in all situations give thanks” (1 Thes 5:16,18). This is having an attitude of thanksgiving, not for all things but rather that, notwithstanding the evil in this world, God is in control and will work it out for our good (Rom 8:28).  

Follow the example of Jesus who for the joy that would result endured the short-term agony for the long-term gain (Heb 12:2). When Paul was about to be martyred he wrote, “Rejoice always”, challenging his readers to think on the “good things” of life (Phil 4:4,8). There is transforming power in praise, even in the midst of trials as we view the final outcome (1 Pet 1:6,7). By viewing life’s problems with a true perspective we can know His peace.

Celebration of life's milestones and significant God moments are not to be kept to ourselves rather openly shared as exuberant times of rejoicing, freedom from cares and anxiety (Ex 15:20; Rom 12:15). Jesus told three parables, each that resulted in the rejoicing and celebrating when what was lost is found – a sheep, a coin, a son (Lk 15:8-31). Church gatherings should be times of celebration as we

Does my face reveal the joy of sins forgiven?

meet with other Christians and hear the victories won in their lives and we in turn share our testimony of the Lord’s goodness to us and worship Him together. Rather than speak about your problems, share what great things God has done for you (Mk 5:19).

Whether we celebrate Christmas and other occasions/holidays is a personal choice, and we are free to follow our own conscience, if we do or don't. Paul advice is, who are we to judge another persons actions? We are responsible to God for ourselves, not them (Rom 14:4-6). As some celebrations have pagan origins the only guiding principles the Bible gives are avoid anything anti-Christian and do all for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31; 1 Thes 5:22).

Often a funeral or memorial service of a Christian is termed a celebration. Although overshadowed by grief at their death, there is the joy of knowing that the person who has lived a godly life is free of the confines of this sinful world and is now in the presence of their Lord and Saviour.

See also: feasts, joy, praise, thankfulness/thanksgiving, Year of Jubilee.