WHAT: Cultivating an environment where people can rejoice and be happy about something they hold in common. Celebration takes place at various levels – within families, in the neighbourhood, in the workplace, at school,at the football stadium or cricket ground, sports arena – even nationally and in the public media. We celebrate births and birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, achievements, victories. We also celebrate lives well lived when our loved ones have died. We celebrate in church, mosque or temple whenever there are special occasions in the calendar.
WHY: To celebrate together has a powerful unifying effect on those who take part. The cause is something we all share in and feel joyful about. The act of celebrating takes us out of ourselves and focuses our attention instead on the cause, or the person. As Christians we celebrate Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God who came to earth. We celebrate his birth, his life, his death and resurrection at various set times of the year. The act of celebrating strengthens our faith and leaves us with powerful visual memories.
HOW: There are various ways of celebrating but our focus here is on media. Community celebrations frequently have media coverage – especially when the local team has won. The joy of victory is shared. When churches celebrate Christmas or Easter events media coverage takes the celebration outside of the walls and into peoples’ homes so that they too can join in the singing, the praise and the worship. Media coverage endorses the event and its significance. It also extends it and helps preserve the traditions that are important to the community.
BIBLICAL BASIS: Celebrations were big in Bible times. The Jewish nation had many festivals throughout the year to celebrate great historic events. Usually there was a feast so that people could sit down together and recount the stories. We are encouraged to keep up these same traditions to help us recall the past and the great things that God has done.
EXAMPLES: This is being written in the days immediately following the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom. The media played a huge part in focusing the nation on the various events organised. In the run-up the media helped advertise and create a sense of anticipation, informing people in advance of what was planned, where to go. There was massive television coverage and radio too. This was backed up by tweets (using Twitter) and Facebook, as well as web-based reports and live coverage. Spectators were interviewed and their reactions broadcast to the nation. Street parties and local activity was also featured as we saw what people were doing in their communities.