I should have remembered yesterday that the pink candle of Advent (representing joy) would be lit. What a fitting day to return to church and be filled with joy at seeing friends, whom, I haven’t seen in months!
The music was beautiful and the familiar readings comforting. I was infused with that quiet kind of joy that comes from being in a place where so many memories of my life and my children’s lives have been spent. (Once crying babies, fidgety toddlers, sullen teenagers and suddenly young adult children who return with families of their own….the life cycle starts over quickly.)
Even now I want my adult children to retain fond, funny, and poignant memories of this church that they were brought up in. (These days returning with spouses and children of their own for special holidays… bringing their crying babies, fidgety toddlers and impressionable school age sons and daughters…to re-live and see their parents’ church growing up… with new eyes.)
These memories should be joyful and happy… because one day the grandchildren will gather and reminisce about the church services at Boo Boo’s church on Christmas Eve… always waiting to hear what surprise Christmas story would be told.
We each have an important decision…a life-altering choice, to make each and every day when we wake up. One day, after we are long gone…will our families remember us with joy and fondness…regaling family stories far into the night or we will remember a parent or grandparent who was a “Bah-Humbug” Scrooge and always ready for the season and especially Christmas Day to be over. The choice is ours.
We have the power to leave behind the legacy of joy to our loved ones who follow us… or sadness. I realized one day, as an adult, that mother would gladly have skipped Christmas if she could have. For a single parent with one hand and a limited income…the thought of Christmas was overwhelming to her on many different levels.
Now I understand why we went home to her mother’s farmhouse in Laurens for Christmas a lot …especially when we were young. She wanted us to be surrounded with cousins, aunts and uncles who could put joy in Christmas for us when she couldn’t. Mother stayed stressed most of the holidays…back then there wasn’t medicine for depression and it wasn’t easily identified. Still she didn’t want us to be down-trodden and did all she could to cover it up.
So, as a young adult I had to make a conscious choice to have joy at Christmas, no matter the circumstances….some years were and are easier than others. The gift of joy is incredibly powerful, one that will keep on giving generation after generation in the form of funny, light-hearted, and sometimes poignant stories …re-told and shared.
Haven’t we witnessed both sides of this Christmas coin? In one article “Sharing Holy Christmas Joy” (365 Devotions for Living Joyfully) the author concludes with….
“Some people prompt family feuds, even after they are gone. Others trigger sorrow, and others spread joy. What type of memories do you want to leave for those you love?”
A legacy lives on forever…generation after generation…leaving a legacy of joy is the greatest gift anyone can leave.
So until tomorrow… Let us feel grateful and blessed for our ancestors who came before us…bringing joy to us throughout their lives, in spite of daunting trials and tribulations. The loved ones who mentored the spiritual type of inner joy that can not be diminished by stress or holidays…
After church yesterday Doodle and Harvey asked me to stay for lunch…and it was a delicious soup!….While there I had so much fun walking around admiring all Doodle’s Christmas decorations and special traditions…it is my favorite thing to do at Christmas…admire so many different varieties of past and present decor. It brings me joy!
*And speaking of joy…Sammy the Cardinal brought me a surcie yesterday (at church) to add to my dining room decor…Thanks Sammy – ( Dee and Mike Lesko.) Glass red bird coasters for the dining table. Who would have ever thought at one time that Sammy would be bringing me joy now when he pecked havoc on my car mirrors just a couple of summers ago?