The 80’s were a time of big hair, two tone Lee jeans, shell toe Adidas, suede Pumas, Kangol hats and Bally shoes. Folks got all gussied up to get together with family and friends. Rap music was taking flight. Run DMC and LL Cool J were wearing black Adidas sweat suits with two white stripes down the outside of the arms and legs. Their outfits weren’t complete without thick gold chains and those infamous shell toe Adidas. You know I couldn’t resist getting one of those sweat suits, the black Kangol to match and my Adidas are black, pink, and lime green with a silver zebra print on the three lines on the outside and instep of the sneakers, had to add my own panache to it of course…lol. Even though my natural tresses prevent me from wearing the hat, it’s on and popping when I get the urge to put on my sweat suit and shell toe Adi Dadi’s, as we called them back in the day. Don’t let a Run DMC song come on Pandora. I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and get my jam on. Ha, Run DMC’s songs: Walk This Way and My Adidas were every kids’ anthem back then. LL Cool J kept us dancing to I Can’t Live Without My Radio and I Need A Beat. Oh how cool we thought we were back then and music kept us connected.
As I continue reflecting on my childhood, the lyrics to Kool and The Gang’s Celebration rings in my head. A smile crawls across my face as I reflect on my mother dancing around and pulling my brothers and me up to dance with her. She never could resist a hot beat or an opportunity to dance. And oh could she dance…
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let’s celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let’s celebrate)
There’s a party goin’ on right here
A celebration to last throughout the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you …
That song was the ultimate party song of my mother, her family and friends back then. The lyrics represent a happy time and encourage celebrating those happy times. I’m sure there were some not so happy times when my mother didn’t want to dance, but something about the music spoke to her and she would ultimately give in; dancing and celebrating in the moment. Regardless of what is going on, music speaks innately to us at the core of our being. I remember times when poverty smacked my mother upside her head. She had four kids to care and provide for, but times were tough, YET a song would come on the radio and mom would break out in a random two step or bop dance. That is how we should face each day, each moment given to live the life we have been given. My mother didn’t realize it then, but she was instilling something simplistic in my siblings and me… no matter how bad things got, we couldn’t give in or give up… we had to fight through it with a little singing and dancing. Even now, music has a way of soothing me during distressful times. Music is one of those things I cannot live without; trust me, I’ve tried. Sometimes we need to sing and dance, as if no one is watching, instead of sulking in the situation or circumstance.
When people come to Christ, they’re given a bunch of manmade rules to follow: If you’re saved you can’t listen to “the devil’s music.” If you’re saved you can’t drink. If you’re saved, you can’t have fun outside of the church. If you’re saved, blah, blah, blah. Heck, no wonder why so many people run so far away from God. I’m not sure what Bible some of those people, who have led folks to Christ, have been reading or what God they’ve been serving, but nowhere in the Bible does it say that being a Christian is boring and void of fun. Quite the contrary! Every time Kirk Franklin hits the stage, you know a party is about to break out. And Tye Tribett is a dancing fool for Christ. The Bible tells us to turn those times of sorrow and mourning into joy and gladness (Judges 11:34, Psalms 30:11, Psalms 149:3, Ecclesiastes 3:4, Jeremiah 31:13). Then there is the story of Jesus turning water to wine at a wedding and God instructing us not to drink to the point of becoming drunk (John 2:1-11, Ephesians 5:18a). We are instructed to, “Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18b-20). God created all things for us to enjoy with a disciplined heart and mind (Genesis 1:26-30, Isaiah 66:2, John 1:3). He did not create us to lead a drab, boring existence; we were created in His image and He has quite a sense of humor.
Hence, the Bible says that we should Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise… (Psalm 100:2, 4).” No matter how challenging things become, we should faithfully believe that God will help us navigate the sea of life (Hebrews 10:23). Nor does the Bible say that once we are born again that our life will be easy or trouble free. No, it says that we are to draw closer to God. We are commanded to rejoice and be glad because each day was created by the LORD (Psalm 118:24). When our resolve is tested, we are reminded, in Proverbs 15:15, All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.” Choosing to dance and sing, when you feel like crying and lifting the white flag of surrender, is the best thing to do and often the best medicine for an aching soul. God knew us way before our parents did. He knew the trials we would endure and the choices and decisions we’d make when life happened (Matthew 10:30, Psalm 139:1-2, Jeremiah 1:5).
It is indeed difficult to celebrate when everything around us is going haywire, but it is in those trying times that we can hear God’s voice as He speaks, teaches the lesson and matures our faith. Choosing to celebrate in the midst of chaos may seem crazy to those around us, but it’s in those moments that our Spirit is connected more so to our Heavenly Father’s. It’s the difference in knowing that God’s got everything under control and us relying on our faith to draw us closer to our Creator who created us for His glory (Genesis 1:27, Ephesians 2:10, 1 Samuel 12:24, Titus 2:14).
The next time life gets you down, I dare you to remember all of the good God has done for you, in and through you. That alone is worthy of celebrating. When your “friends” are backbiting and being catty, remember that even Jesus dealt with the same issues, but didn’t allow “people” and their nonsense to keep Him from His Father’s business…winning souls. I’m sure He may have wanted to give up, but knew the ultimate price God was willing to pay for you and me…sacrificing Him so we could be redeemed from sin. THAT, alone, is worth celebrating every single day because it shows just how much God loves us (John 3:16). NOTHING should ever separate us from God’s love, praising, thanking and worshipping Him every single day (Romans 8:37-39) because…
…It’s time to come together
It’s up to you, what’s your pleasure?
Everyone around the world come on!
It’s a celebration