Saturday Smiles – Joy Edition

I know, I know. It’s Sunday. I’m a day late, but I can’t give up the catchy title, so here we are.

It’s the third Sunday of Advent. The focus: joy. I experienced a lot of joy at church this morning, and when I think about what makes me smile, much of it is rooted in joy. Here’s a sampling.

Two people offered special music this morning. They sang two Christmas selections. They are not professional musicians nor was their performance what I would call polished. But it. was. beautiful. And you want to know why? Because one of them is legally blind and the other uses a cane to walk and has other physical issues. They held hands as they sang, presenting a picture of what the apostle Paul wrote — “when I am weak, then you are strong.” To some, they might be considered useless individuals. But I believe God smiled on them today and smiles on them every day of their lives on earth. And that makes me smile.

Last night, driving home from Kmart around dusk, the moon was large, orange and hanging so low in the horizon I thought we were going to drive right into it. It looked like a Christmas ornament hanging from the heavens. On the radio, “O Holy Night” — my favorite Christmas hymn — was playing. Pure magic.

Prior to that, while we were headed into Kmart, a woman delivered two McDonald’s coffees to the Salvation Army bell ringers, who were grateful for the liquid warmth as they volunteered their time. What a great idea! I wish I’d thought of it, but I’ll try not to forget it. Small act. Big impact.

Our 3-year-old likes to pass out stickers at church. We call it her sticker ministry. I love watching people’s faces light up when they see her coming.

She’s going to miss the Christmas party at church next week. The kids are going to visit shut-ins and bring them a craft. Even though we’ll be with family in Illinois then, she was super upset that she wouldn’t get to help pass out things to people who can’t come to church. She was relieved to learn that she could help Nana and Papa with a service project in Illinois. Such a big heart for such a little girl. I love it.

The kids and I spent much of the week making Christmas gifts for people we’re thankful for this year. The kitchen was messy. The dishes piled up. I grew weary of being anywhere near the kitchen. The kids couldn’t keep their hands out of some of the ingredients. My son covered himself in paint. We made two trips to Dollar General and one trip to Hobby Lobby and two trips to the grocery store. And with a kitchen full of gift bags stuffed full of love, I’m satisfied. And eager to spread the Christmas cheer.

We have a short but full week ahead of us, and while all the things we have to do don’t necessarily make me smile, knowing we’ll be with family by the end of the week is my inspiration to work hard and get ‘er done. I love and miss my family in Illinois and can’t wait to see them and spend time with them.

Smiling? Oh, yeah.


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