My work is a cell phone dead zone, so each day when I emerge from the building, I listen and watch to see if I’ve received any texts. This past week my phone buzzed and beeped for almost a minute as a string of messages came in one after another, one and then the next, like stair steps on my phone screen.
A pair of good friends had just welcomed their second child. Below the image of his tiny head, adorned with the typical blue and pink striped hat, were a line-up of loving responses saying how cute he was, how perfect his name was, and inquiring about the mother’s health following delivery.
It almost felt like a text party as we welcomed the new life by sharing the good news and commenting back quickly and at length. The joy was electric. Recently, I was reading a Bible text for devotion writing that has notes from the people who physically experienced seeing and hearing Jesus. “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it.”
The first few times I read these verses I thought it was about proof–how these writers “saw it with their own eyes,” so we should believe because we have a primary source. But after reading again, I was struck by the last line: “We write this to make our joy complete.” In the Message version it reads, “Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!”
This intention makes all the difference.
I love it that these early writers tell us why they’re sharing these stories, and the why is joy. This joy is so contagious, this life-conquering death so full-to-the-brim-overflowing that they know it can’t quite be complete until they share it. How might we be filled to overflowing joy today? But what if today we’re not feeling it? What if stories of babies and pregnancy weigh us down instead of lifting our spirits? Whether we’re feeling that joy or not today, I believe that a deep goodness wants to meet us right where we are. Right here. Right now. I read once that if you ever find yourself feeling out of it, turn your head to the left and notice something there you can be thankful for. May we be open to seeing it, savoring the small joys that come our way today, breathing them in with thanks.
“We write this to make our joy complete.” – 1 John 1:4
A yellow tulip almost falling apart, but still holding its petals
Cuddly jammies on kids after bathtime
A good friend shooting it straight with me
A student coming back from a mistake
The smell of my dog’s wrinkly ears
Your turn. . .