Sometimes joy catches me by surprise. Last Saturday was finally my turn to help chaperon the high school marching band in the Apex Christmas parade. This group of kids is so terrific that parents literally compete to chaperon, so I've been waiting with excitement to watch my oldest with the group of kids that he's spent countless hours with this fall. Look how handsome he is in his uniform.
I think it's funny that this "game face" has become the norm in his uniform.
Can you believe how tall this boy is? I marvel when I have to stand on my tiptoes to kiss him good-bye in the morning.
Anyway...after waiting in the parade line for a LONG time, dancing with a reindeer (the boy was so proud that his mom did that in front of the whole band) and watching the boy interact with his new friends, we finally started moving. I grinned like a goon through the whole parade. Apex is a previously small NC town that has preserved it's charming downtown. As we walked through the old, brightly painted buildings with the twinkly Christmas lights gleaming down from above, the band played "Glor-or-or-or-oria". I looked at all the happy parents and children around us and thought about all the simple gifts that God surrounds us with every day. It was a moment of the purest, deepest joy.
An article in Better Homes and Gardens this month said, "Not to be confused with happiness, joy comes in fleeting moments of shiny perfection when the edges between us and others blur. It's a gift, one that comes from someplace deep and divine on its own terms." I think they're really close in that definition.
Jesus said, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:9-11). Joy is a divine gift. It's based on God's love for us, and He's the giver of every good and perfect gift. The emotion of joy may be fleeting, but true joy abides with us just as Jesus abides with us.
I'm so grateful for that moment in Apex. There is so much joy that comes with this season when I slow down and pay attention. What events or people have brought you Christmas joy this year?