The other day I got a WhatsApp message that really made me smile. It was a picture of our 6 year old granddaughter grinning excitedly because she had discovered her first wobbly tooth. She insisted on adding over 200 emojis to the message (kisses, smiles, unicorns, hearts, flags, funny faces – all the usual stuff!) to leave us in no doubt about just how exciting this was!
Children have such a huge appetite and capacity for joy, don’t they? The previous day I had been helping her with her home schooling (we are her child-care bubble) and she was set the task of finding one or two things around the house to measure. When we got to twenty we had to stop, as it was time for her next zoom lesson. “I love measuring things, Granny” she said as she searched for more and more random objects to measure and record. I think the potato was my favourite.
Life has been very limited for children recently. They are missing their friends, their sports, fun days out, holidays and birthday parties, but, in spite of all that, all 4 of our grandchildren seem to have retained the ability to take joy in life’s simple pleasures, as and when they occur.
Maybe that’s why Jesus told us to become like little children.
Joy is not simply about “cheering up” or “looking on the bright side”, it is much more than that. It is a brightness, an inexpicable lightness of spirit that is not dependent on circumstances. The best way I can explain is by giving you an example.
I remember a particular day, many years ago, when I was really struggling with a number of pressures in my life and I felt pretty broken. I drove out into Derbyshire to clear my head a little and by the side of the road there was a profusion of gorgeous wild flowers. On seeing them, my eyes filled with tears and I found myself saying “These are for me, aren’t they Lord? Thank you” and with my tears there came a measure of healing and peace.
It is my prayer for each one of you that, whatever challenges you are facing, you will have moments of pure joy to help you on your way.