Luke 19: 28-40
After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this: ‘The Lord needs it.’”So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.
On the surface this passage is based on pretty shaky logic. The owners are just supposed to give away their colt to a couple of strange men because Jesus needs it? If the owners pressed further they would have learned the colt was for Jesus’ short-lived celebratory entry into Jerusalem. That’s a fair amount of trouble for a party, and for a man who usually erred on the side of simplicity. The argument could be made this was a whole lot of hullabaloo for a man about to die. But I think Jesus understood the importance of celebrating, even, or especially, in the face of trials and tribulations. Because the “Lord needs it.” Not wants it or prefers it, Jesus needs it if he’s to keep going.
This is new territory for me. I’ve always been the sort of person who lets small victories pass unacknowledged. And my coping mechanism, in the face of mounting stress, has been to put my head down and keep going. Why take the time, or spend the money, or go to the trouble, to celebrate something small? And why do it when one is strung out and struggling to get through the day? Well, maybe because one’s life depends on it.
Perhaps Jesus is demonstrating for us the power of celebrating when our life is careening out of control, or toward certain disappointment. And not only in the face of the painful stuff, but also the little stuff (such as saying no when we usually say yes, or yes when we usually say no). It’s not frivolous, it’s because we need it. So the next time we are tempted to let a small victory pass by uncelebrated, or keep our nose firmly pressed to the grindstone, let us remember Jesus’ example and throw a party instead (or do something really nice for ourselves).
What small victory have you not yet celebrated?
How can you take time to celebrate, even when life gets stressful?