Joy is my favorite word around Christmastime. It’s hard to say without smiling. It expresses an emotion that is lovely all year round, but especially at this magical time of year. And it’s fun no matter what font it’s written in!
Joy Joy Joy Joy Joy Joy Joy Joy
See? Now it can be your favorite word too!
When I think of Joy I think of two different varieties – the quieter, blissful joy and the elated, delightful joy. I think Christmas is about both those joys. Even when I’m not expecting it.
Yesterday the kids and I made cutout cookies, not because I wanted to but because we needed to get them done so we could frost them today and have them ready for Santa’s mailbox tonight. So, we set about mixing and rolling out dough. My two youngest were beyond joyful. They were downright giddy, which I found to be highly annoying. I just wasn’t feeling it for some reason. The dough wasn’t playing nicely and my counter was covered in flour. I was close to throwing in the towel and buying some cookies to decorate – or maybe some already frosted ones.
But then, our twelve-year-old shuffled into the kitchen. He said he didn’t want to help make them, just eat them. But he didn’t disappear either. He sat at the table and talked with us. Then he stood at the counter and watched us. Then he picked up a cookie cutter and fiddled with it. Each step he made, closer to being part of this family tradition with us, slowly brought more and more joy to my heart. I certainly couldn’t express my joy outwardly with any more than a shy smile as Jace shrugged and said, “I guess I’ll make one or two.”
Quiet wonder at how this simple pastime had drawn our preteen out of his room and into our lives filled my heart. That’s a good kind of joy. I see other examples of this contented joy gently grips me too. I feel joy like this when I look at Christmas lights, open cards, or hear certain songs.
However, other songs, like “Jingle Bell Rock,” are a better example of the sometimes boisterous joy that can accompany Christmas. Man, I love that tune! Obviously, when kids open their presents or parents pull off some really epic surprise you can see the sparkles in everyone’s eyes. There might even be some high-fiving! Good stuff. Loud, unbridled joy!
Another illustration, though, happened a few weeks ago. Our youngest has his heart set on a specific Lego set. It’s the only thing he asked Santa for. So one day he came running down the stairs and asked me if I’d come see what he did in his room. I did, but again, my heart wasn’t in it. I was doing something and didn’t love being interrupted. Because he was bouncing when he asked me, though, I decided it might be worth checking out right away. Even before I started up the stairs I was giggling out loud. What on Earth could he be so joyous about?
We got up there and he explained to me how he’d looked up the dimensions of the set he wants and had cleared a spot for it in his Lego world! His pride and excitement beamed from him! They beamed from me too! Oh, what joy! I hope he gets his set from Santa or we’ll be dealing with a whole different emotion. Somehow, though, I think it will all work out okay.
Maybe that’s part of the magic of Christmas – joy is contagious and dreams come true!