Driving down a road recently, our car passed fields and fields of sunflowers. They were in full bloom and all of their little yellow faces seemed to be smiling back at us. We smiled at them. In their own little way, they lifted our spirits and gave us something to think about the rest of the day. They created JOY. It made me think about all of those little moments in our day that offer us JOY. A phone call from a friend, a funny text, ice cream, unexpected flowers, a laugh, a good book, a nice meal, a hug…these are moments of JOY on my list.
My daughter’s favorite book before bed is Tickle Monster. It is about a monster that comes from planet tickle and tickles her from head to toe. She loves the book. It is not the best book (in my rational, boring, mom opinion) before bed because it does not really settle her down. Maybe it is the monster gloves we wear or the way the tickle monster grabs her boney little knees. She wiggles. She screams. She laughs until she cannot breathe. She is filled with JOY! Just JOY. No wonder she chooses the book night after night. I imagine that she probably sleeps best after having a day with JOY.
Leon Bloy said, “JOY is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.” I am sure God loves to see us full of JOY in the same way I love to see my daughter laughing so hard that she needs a break from tickles. JOY lifts us out of the seriousness of life and into the presence of God. JOY reminds us to celebrate life. JOY puts us on the path to hope, peace and love.
One of my college friends lost her mother to cancer this past year. I spent time at her home in college. She was a gentle and loving woman. When I heard how she was walking through her fight with cancer, I was not surprised…she was Pimpin JOY. You can read about her JOY journey. She chose JOY over everything else. Since her death, her family has done the same. And I know they have experienced the presence of God all along the way.
As our country celebrates today, I encourage you to experience JOY. Make your own list of JOY moments that work for you. Share JOY with those you meet this week. And if you really want to dive into a day of JOY, there is always Tickle Monster at the end of the day!
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Psalm 98:4