Luke 7:18-23, John 1:1-13, Psalm 147:12-20
I have been laughing more lately!
Our daughter Libby gave birth to our first grandchild in June. Her name is Ceily. And yes, for all of you who have preceded us in grandparent-hood, you were right. It is great to be a grandparent! Go ahead and say I told you so. When I look at Ceily’s eyes and see her smile, without fail it causes me to laugh – every time. The source of my laugh is the welling up of the joy in my heart – my brain seems to exert no control over it. When I think about it, Ceily gives me her joy-giving smile because I smile at her first, starting my session of joy-induced laughter. I think this may be an example of the chain of Christian “giving-receiving-giving-receiving” that Preston spoke of in his recent message. This passing of joy back and forth between us is a God thing.
My recent spate of laughing became so obvious that at one point over Thanksgiving I laughed yet again at Ceily’s smiling face and Libby caught me a little off guard, saying, “Dad, I don’t think you ever laughed so much when we (she and her brother Benjamin) were that age.” Somewhat defensively I said, “Well, of course I did!” However, on further reflection, I think Libby may be right. Maybe I am making more room for joy in my life these days.
A recent Sunday, a wonderful friend at 2BC told me that one year, her now adult granddaughter wrote Christmas letters to the members of the family. In her granddaughter’s letter to her, she said how much she treasured the family times when they would get together, enjoy each other’s company, and laugh! My friend told me that if you take joy in your granddaughter now, you have even more to look forward to when she is older. She also says that from time to time, she reads the letter from her granddaughter again, such is the joy that her granddaughter brings her!
In this holiday season, our 2BC family has been a great source of joy to me. I think back to the “Thanksliving” lunch when my wife Janet had invited two family friends, Grace and Ali, to join us at church and the lunch afterward. At our table, together with the Gilmore family, we had a wonderful but all too short time discussing the questions posed by our church staff – I found much joy there, too, but it left me wanting even more of this fellowship. Yes, maybe I am making more room for joy in my life these days.
In this season of anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ, God-Incarnate, into our lives, my hope is that we can be a joy to each other like baby Ceily has been to me. And while she can’t really tell me yet in words that she feels joy, I can see it in her smiling face. Like the joyful news of the birth of a baby announced by an angel to a group of shepherds a night some 2,000 years ago, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
– Alan Nye