Devotion in Motion: What joy can do

joy to the world10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”  Luke 2:10 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

Every once in a while, in the life of every human being, our Creator pulls back the curtains of Heaven and in our lives allows us to see a glimpse of His glory.  And in those moments we feel joy. I’m not talking about run-of-the-mill daily happiness,  and I’m not referring to everyday fun or common amusement. I’m talking about pure, unadulterated joy—those moments when our hearts can scarcely contain the light God has placed within them: JOY.

Now, you don’t need me to draw you a chart because I’m sure you’ve experienced this. I have no idea when you experienced this or what circumstances brought it about. The Bible teaches that each heart has its own sorrows and joys that nobody else can understand. But at some point, God has allowed you to have joy in some moment of your life. I’d love to sit down with you so you could tell me about that time….

Something I’ve come to realize is that so many of my truly joyful memories are connected with Christmases that I’ve celebrated throughout my life. Maybe Heaven is closer to Earth at Christmastime; it kind of seems that way sometimes.

Sometimes when I see a Kodak picture it makes my heart yearn and ache. I was with my loved ones and it was purest joy. I want to climb inside the photograph. I want to live inside the memory. Surely the kingdom of Heaven is like that.

The Christian writer, C. S. Lewis, wrote that the life that we are living now is the “veil of tears.” We only experience joy from time to time and at odd moments that can’t be replicated. But Heaven will be different. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” That is amazing.

I believe joy is a very important thing. It is through joy that we lead our children to Heaven. When we touch their lives with caring and love and attention, at some point the children are bound to feel joy. And this feeling of joy will make them long for Heaven. And because of this longing and yearning, they will believe on the Saviour, Jesus.

We’ve got serious work to do this Christmas, don’t we?

So spread His love. And share His joy.

And have a very Merry Christmas.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 29 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where joyful Christmas plans are in the works.)  Their kids include Spencer (age 23), his wife Madeline (age 23), and Seth (age 20).

The Rockwood Files: The Anniversary Voucher

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

On my wedding anniversary, the man who made vows to love, honor and cherish me all the days of his life called my cell phone.

“Hey, honey,” he said.

“Are you still at the airport?”

“Yeah, and I’m not going to make it home in time for us to go out for dinner tonight,” he said.

“Bad weather in Chicago?” I asked.

american-airlines-planeNot exactly.”

“Is something wrong with the plane?”

“No, the plane is taking off right now.”

“Then why aren’t you going to be here?”

“Well, the flight was overbooked. And the flight attendant asked for a volunteer to get off the plane and take a later flight, but no one was volunteering because it’s Friday night and everybody wants to get home.”

“And…?”

“And then she started offering a travel voucher for 100 dollars, then 200, then 300… She got all the way up to 500 dollars.”

“Are you trying to tell me that you’re not going to be here for our anniversary dinner because you took a travel voucher instead?”

“I did,” he said. “And the flight attendant was so grateful that I volunteered that she bumped it up the travel voucher to 600 dollars.” The uneasy tone in his voice told me he was nervous about selling out to American Airlines on the night of our anniversary.

I paused for a moment, realizing that the steak dinner I’d been looking forward to was about to turn into a frozen pizza with the kids. Then I said something full of the kind of real-life practicality that comes along with 16 years of marriage and mortgages and kids: “They gave you six hundred dollars? SCORE! Where should we go when we use it?”

We spent the next few minutes deciding how to use the travel voucher while I texted the babysitter and asked if she could come watch the kids the following night instead. By the time Tom came home dragging his suitcase behind him, there were stale pizza crusts on the kitchen counter and the kids and I had fallen asleep while watching reruns of Shark Tank.

If this had happened on the night of our first wedding anniversary, I probably would have passively-aggressively told Tom I was “fine” and then spent the next hour alone in a weepy heap on the sofa, tormented by how he could do such an awful thing to me on our anniversary. Then I would have worked up a full steam of righteous anger and expressed it over a week’s worth of icy cold shoulders and stink eye.

I still had a lot to learn in Year One. We both did. But now we have a few years of “for better or worse” under our belts, and life has a way of teaching you which things to get upset over and which ones just don’t rise to the level of “big deal.”

There are lots of great things about marriage but one of the best is the sense of calm you get as the years go by. Your happiness doesn’t hinge on a missed dinner appointment or a disagreement. You have the reassurance that your commitment is more durable than that. Of course, that doesn’t mean we don’t get frustrated with each other and sometimes even downright mad. It just means we have the sense that, even in those times, it’ll be okay. And that’s a blessing.

We finally decided what to do with that 600-dollar travel voucher. After the holiday chaos ends, we’re using it to take our oldest son to see the sights in Washington, D.C. to celebrate his 13th birthday. See how we turned a missed anniversary dinner into an awesome birthday gift? And while we’re there, we’re definitely getting that steak dinner.

gwen rockwoodGwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

Five Minutes with a {New to NWA} Mom: Denise Lightbody

Denise Lightbody

Name: Denise Lightbody

Kid’s names and ages:

Lauren 7 & Xander 5

Where are you from and how long have you lived in NWA?

We drove here from California 6 months ago! I lived in California all 45 years of my life!  This is a dramatic adjustment for all of us!

What brought you here?

We moved to NWA for my husbands job.

What are your family’s favorite things to do so far in the area?

We love the parks here and all the community events!

Tell us about a typical day for you:

While the kids are at school, I’m generally busy doing something around the house or for the house since we just moved in at the end of August. After I pick up the kids, we head to martial arts, therapy, Girl Scouts, or gymnastics. By the time the activities are over, we bathe, eat, and fall into bed.

What’s something your friends might not know about you?

I was secretly excited to move somewhere with seasons.

What was the last song you sang along to?

Do They Know it’s Christmas? (I’ve been listening to Christmas music since they started playing it.)

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

I love being able to see the kids faces when they first see the gifts that Santa left for them under the tree; it makes all the stress leading up to it worthwhile.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world this winter where would it be?

Our family would be thrilled to go on a Disney cruise!

What’s the most enjoyable thing about being a mother?

Every day I look forward to the look on their faces when I pick them up from school. They are so happy to see me; I’ve never felt so loved.

What’s something you have always wanted to learn?

I’ve always wanted to learn sign language.

How do you relax at the end of the day?

Relax? What’s that?

One word to sum me up …dedicated (My family is everything to me.)

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required Email Address * First Name Last Name
Advertisement