Friday, November 8, 2013

Beyond Thanksgiving, All the Way to Joy

      I know what I want to say but I don't know how to say it.
      I suppose I could break out into my own rendition of Julie Andrew's These Are a Few of my Favorite Things... But... I can't sing. Or dance.  And my neighbors aren't always the most stable people on the planet so I don't think I want to do anything to irritate them... So imitating Julie Andrews at 11:30 at night in our front yard is.. just.. not going to happen.
      Jesus said that He came to give us His joy and to make our joy full.
      That full-of-joy feeling is often absent from my life.  Flattened by the earth-shaking machinery of daily life.  Lost somewhere along with the truant socks in the laundry basket of As the World Turns.  (And, seriously, where do all those  missing socks go, both literal and figuratively?)
       And yet, as I've learned from the recent Bible study I  just completed, Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg, there is wonder, joy, and cause for celebration all around us.  Because our God is so much greater than we can imagine and He has not only given us joy, He has also provided moments of wonder all around us to fuel that joy.  Yes, even here in the 'hood. Yes, even here at the threshold of old age.  Yes, even on the days when it's cold and dreary and it seems like every bone in my body from knees down  to my toes aches.
      These are some of the things that have caused me to stop and wonder lately, things that God has used to rekindle joy in my heart at odd moments in the autumn of my life.
      Well-lit rooms and warmth inside our home while outside the world is dark, damp, and cold.  Hot chocolate, warm blankets, and seasonal movies inside juxtaposed against  early nightfall, blustery winds,  and rain that seems to chill right through to the bone outside.
      The occasional laughter of my niece as we home school each morning.   I love to hear her laugh because there is both joy and innocence in it.   I feel privileged to build into her life as she builds into mine.
      The  Amaryllis plants that we "rescue" every year from Walmart's gardening center.  It's a  ritual, filled with anticipation as we watch to see which plants will respond to our care, which ones will go from being half-dead to being alive and laden with lavish blooms in an amazingly short time.

     The joy of watching our son grow into a man.  He's an adult now - not a clone of Phil or I but his own person. One minute he can be talking seriously about his job, the next he can be seen laughing at a Youtube video while his cockatiel sits on his shoulder.  I love that.
      The gentleness and competence of my husband.  Today I was tense over a Bible study of all things - was I doing it right? Should I change how we approached the lessons?  My husband massaged the tense muscles in my neck as he has had to do so many times over our 27 years of marriage and then wisely, quietly said, "Cathy, just let the Bible speak for itself.  Turn the study over to Jesus. It's His anyway."  And I felt wonder at the goodness of God in providing me with such a wise and loving best friend.
     This is the short list. There is a much longer one.
      Because the Creator God planned it that way - giving us multiple opportunities to glimpse His nature and to feel His joy as we journey through life.
      It's November, a time when we find ways to emphasize the giving of thanks.
      I've been challenged by Margaret Feinberg's Bible study to go beyond thanksgiving all the way to praise and  joy.
      I'd like to pass that challenge on to you as well.
      Ask God to show you the wonder around you and as He does, write it down.  If it's a glorious sunset, take a picture and tape it to your work desk. If it's something you've seen a thousand times but suddenly, God enables you to see how precious it is, journal about it.   And, yes, even sing to Him.  (Raindrops and laundry and birds on our shoulders...  Well, not quite Julie Andrews but... close... :)
      There is joy in the journey and this is a great month to look for it, to praise Him for it, and to share the wonder of it with others as well as with Him, the Giver of all good things. (James 1:17)


No comments:

Post a Comment