Joy to the World
Christmas is about music and joy.
One of my favourite Christmas hymns is “Joy to the World” and when I thought about this song this year, two joy-packed stories popped into my mind.
The first story is from 1987, when my wife (Norilynn) and I lived in Jordan. At that time, Norilynn managed a rehab center in a Palestinian refugee camp. One of the kids was a 7 year old named Ashraf. Ashraf had been coming to the center 5 days a week for over a year. He had cerebral palsy.
One day Norilynn came home and insisted I come to the center the next day. After a year of effort, Ashraf had finally managed, all by himself, to pull himself to a standing position on a walker – and Ashraf wanted his mother to come the next day to see it. The next day we all came and watched Ashraf struggle for about five minutes – although it felt like an hour. With enormous effort he struggled to the standing position all alone. The joy in his face as he looked at his mother while standing alone was amazing.
When you sing “Joy to the World” this year and begin with the first “JOY….”, imagine Ashraf’s smile of satisfaction and pride as he stood there looking at his mother.
The second story is from Zambia and only happened three years ago.
We were visiting Masiyaleta, another boy with cerebral palsy. We wanted to take him out to the sun to get a better picture of him but there was a log in the way of his wheel chair. Up to this point Masiyaleta was very quiet and stoic. To get over the log, I and the community worker picked his chair up to lift it over. As it rose in the air Masiyaleta instantly laughed loudly, his face full of joy. His whole demeanour changed after that moment of pure joy.
Our work is this joy.
We are all about bringing the JOY of advent to the world – one struggling child after the other. As you sing this song this Christmas remember your role in bringing this JOY to all people!
Indeed, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come” and “thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven!”