Pretty much everyone in the known world is aware that my Dawgs won the Rose Bowl Monday night. As my son said from Pasadena, it was epic. Still is. I wasn't there in Pasadena but the celebration extended from coast to coast. (OK so maybe the state of OK wasn't joining in but everywhere else was!) Dawgs everywhere. Unparalleled excitement. This is big, y'all.
When the game ended - and I could breathe once again - we needed to celebrate. We needed to share our joy and to be with our peeps. So we headed to UGA's campus...to ring the chapel bell. All Dawgs know that's how we commemorate victories - we ring the bell and let the whole world know, in case anyone missed the ESPN report. Tradition says that the bell must clamor and clang at least til midnight, except when we beat arch rival Georgia Tech. In those times, we peal that bell all night long!!!!
It was exhilarating to be there with so many of our people. To stand in line, cheering and clapping and celebrating together. The TV cameras showed up (yes, I was on air) and we shouted, clapped, hugged, and cried. We took our turn tugging on the rope, posted pics to social media and ran around, still celebrating. We bought cookies at Insomnia, became close friends with total strangers, and kept celebrating. Over and over, we heard the sentiment - "this is the greatest celebration ever!" Yes, my son, it was indeed epic.
I didn't take a poll or anything but I am sure that the most intense celebration comes from those who have matriculated at UGA, specifically those who have endured the disappointments and discouragements of heartbreaking defeats. Although there is room at the Dawgs table for anyone who wants to be there (and we welcome you ALL!! GLADLY!!), those of us who hold UGA student IDs (past or present) feel the lows a bit more intensely and therefore the highs, a little more jubilantly. We understand in a more personal way, I suppose.
Sound judgment finally persuaded us to head home. Even so, we could not contain our excitement. I don't know when my mind finally allowed sleep to overtake my body! Celebrate!
I love my Dawgs. I love my peeps and I love it when they are happy with my Dawgs. I love that we get to be excited about how well my Dawgs have done. It is right and good to celebrate these well-earned successes.
As much as I love them, though, as much as I join in these celebrations, I know what some of my celebration-partners don't know. This might indeed be an "epic celebration" but it doesn't hold a candle to what goes on in Heaven every time someone enters a relationship with Christ, turning from darkness to the glorious Light. Talk.About.A.Party! THAT, my friend, is what an epic celebration is!
In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15, we see this celebration referred to in verses 7 and 10 -
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Jesus describes the earthly rejoicing that ensues when something precious is lost so as to convey to us the exuberance in Heaven over every soul that comes to Christ. I would imagine the heavenly equivalent of UGA's chapel bell clamors and clangs all through the skies, while saints clap and cheer and dance and shout.
And, for what it's worth, I believe with all my heart that it's God the Father, Jesus the Son and all the saints that are doing the rejoicing in the presence of the angels. While I am sure the angels are pleased and glad - just like the UGA fans that never went there to school are glad for our wins - the angels have no knowledge of what it means to be redeemed. They have never been in need of salvation, never have lived in darkness and without His marvelous light, never not known the Most High God.
Those who have themselves experienced redemption can rejoice with an intensity, a depth, a joy that otherwise cannot be known.
If Jesus tarries, one day I'll be in Heaven when this kind of celebration ensues. I hope I get to stand close to Jesus and high five Him as I learn of a new brother or sister. In my sanctified imagination, I see myself cheering and crying and dancing...and I hope He'll turn to me and invite me to ring that chapel bell. Epic, my friend. Definitely Epic.