Celebrate in Real Time

A TV ad in the ’80’s for instant coffee instructed us to “Celebrate the Moments of Our Lives.” I’ve never been a fan myself of the drink mix they advertised, but I still like their slogan—and I’m learning how to celebrate “moments” as I’ve gotten older.

50265918_85202_0042_Large Last weekend, I celebrated the receipt of my Master’s degree with a trip to New Hampshire (where the graduation ceremony was held) and with some ancillary stops in beautiful surrounding areas. I was celebrating not just one moment, but a year-and-a-half of moments. (Yea!) We’re all accustomed to celebrating these big events: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. But what about the “moments” that happen almost everyday? And how do we even recognize them when they come?

When my mother was dying of cancer I learned a great lesson in celebrating the small things. Neighbors and old friends would stop by Mama’s house with casseroles that were cooked just right—or cakes that didn’t “fall” in the oven—or cuttings of Shasta daisies that had bloomed in their yards. I most liked the descriptions they shared of the everyday things—like how big the tomatoes were ripening in their gardens. Their first fruits were “about the size of the end of your thumb” or “as big as your fist” or “’bout like a cat-head biscuit.” Some of the neighbors would talk about their children and grandchildren and their pursuits and accomplishments. I would watch their eyes light up as they spoke of tiny victories and revelations. As I listened, I began to appreciate those “moments” with them—the things that aren’t necessarily what we would label causes to celebrate.

Neo-Impressionist French painter Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859-1891) developed a technique in art called pointillism. The pictures on the canvases he created look optically complete and quite pleasing. His most famous example of pointillism is “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” pictured here:


This painting was not made with broad strokes but thousands of tiny dots. Each dot is a pure color ingeniously added to the canvas one at a time so that they blend into an image when viewed from a distance. Drawing from this example I ask: Isn’t that what our lives are—tiny specks of people, places, and things that seem individually irrelevant, but can create a beautiful portrait?

In the parable of the talents, Jesus teaches that if we do well with the small things, God will let us be in charge of the bigger things (my paraphrase from Matthew 25: 23). Does this apply to the gift of “moments”? I think it does. Celebrate the little things—the tiny dots of time, people and places—and the bigger pictures will start to appear before our eyes.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17)


4 thoughts on “Celebrate in Real Time

  1. Gloria Peacock

    The older you get, the more you realize the truth of these words. So blessed that many of the dots in our lives are moments spent with Dennis & Nan Allen during their years at FBC Marianna. Special moments indeed! Love your family!!!!

  2. Cindy Hardin

    Love this one, Nan! Congrats on the hard work you completed to receive your Master’s Degree. Remembering the special moments we had together on summer youth trips, SonPower, Grateful Hearts and Dinner Theaters….to mention a few. I love seeing pictures of you all in your GA home……..you look so happy and for that, I am very grateful. Thanks for the memories and know that you will forever be in my heart! Love ya!

  3. John Howard

    Some life events absolutely help us reflect on gushers of these dots that we’ve been blessed with along the way. Most are terrific, and some of them sand or buff us up a bit. You and Dennis and your ministry have been these Blessed dots for countless folk….and continue to. Thanks for sharing what He gives you.


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