She sits next to me on the couch.
Her eyes lower and look away.
She droops over as if sandbags drape their weight on her shoulders.
Her hands make a swooshing sound as she rubs them together in distress.
She sighs and whispers to me her sadness over the Christmas season.
No little scampering feet of children. No excitement of expectation. No one to join her in decorating the tree or singing carols or watching Christmas movies.
A mess surrounds her. Boxes of ornaments sit around her Christmas tree. Stacks of garland drape over the chairs by the fireplace. Decorations pile up in the corner.
She says she’s tired. I’ve lost my joy, she whispers. Where’s the simplicity? Where’s the wonder, the magic, of yesteryear? Where’s the sharing? Not all the shopping. Not the comparison decorating. Just the Manger Child birth and the season of giving from the heart.
Tears from a heart of emptiness begin to slide down her cheeks.
I take her timeworn hands in mine, close my eyes, and begin to pray, “Lord, bring some joy into the life of Your precious daughter. Allow her to regain the delight of Jesus’ birth and the meaning of the joy of giving…”
A knock on the door interrupts my prayer.
She wipes her eyes quickly and answers the door. A small neighbor girl stands scarfed in her winter garb and holding out a plateful of cookies in her be-mittened hands.
“Hi, Mrs. A. In case you forgot, my name is Joy. I live two houses down the street with my brother and sister and my mom and dad. I was born on Christmas Eve so my mom called me Joy ‘cause she said I was her Christmas Joy. Oh, these are for you. My mom and I made them for you. We want to share some Christmas joy with you.”
Mrs. A looks down at the plate of cookies and on each one, scribbled in icing, is one word: JOY.
“Oh, and the cookies are from Jesus, too. Merry Christmas joy, Mrs. A.”
About to have an attack of an ugly cry, Mrs. A gushes out with a profuse, “Thank you, sweetie. Thank you, thank you so much. I can’t thank you enough. Bless you, dear one. And tell your mother thank you as well.”
After she closes the door, I can see her standing in the hall, staring down at the plateful of cookies.
As tears puddle in her eyes, she whispers…
Joy. Joy to the world.
Let every heart prepare Him room.
And…let me sing…
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
…and repeat the sounding joy…
Lord, we pray, bring back the joy that bursts forth from the manger-birth. So many hearts hungering for joy. So many grieving losses. So many with troubled souls from past difficulties, current heartaches, and looking at a future of uncertainties. Prepare their hearts to give You a birthplace. Bring them the peace You came to give hurting hearts. May they know that giving brings joy to a suffering soul. And let us all never forget the greatest reason to celebrate Christmas is the joy of the birth of Christ. Amen!
May the Lord fill your heart with manger-joy this Christmas season!
The blessings of Christmas joy…Lynn