December 18, 2007: The Bible speaks of joy over two hundred times. I sang of joy at several recent Christmas concerts when I sang the old familiar carol, "Joy to the World". I often speak on joy in my talks at churches and women's events. This time of year can leave many feeling less than joyful though. It's easy to get bogged down with all the preparations for the "big day" on December 25th and forget that the whole reason for the joy we are supposed to feel has nothing to do with the next big sale at our favorite department store.

Recently I had a very small thing happen in my day that brought me great joy in the strangest sort of way. I was in the airport in Indianapolis, IN eating lunch on my way back home from a crazy week of singing and speaking. I was eating a stale and over cooked chicken sandwich, reflecting on how great it was that I had made all my flights to the Christmas events. If one flight had been a bit off schedule, I knew that it could have been a disaster. Even though it snowed everywhere I went on this jaunt I always seemed to be ahead of the airports closing. I knew that was an answered prayer of mine and many others. I was happy about the great time I had with all the many new friends I had met and how the events seemed to go smoothly. All of this made me feel a great sense of relief and gratification.

I have to write that I was a bit surprised though that I hadn't thought too much about Christmas and how I was feeling about it this year. Doug and I had put up our tree right before I left for this long excursion and I knew I had plenty to do to get ready for our Christmas with our families but as far as having the "Christmas Spirit" I hadn't felt the rush yet. Then it happened...

I had noticed a waitress in the well used diner I was having my lunch in. She seemed to be somewhat tired. She looked as if she had been there on her job serving hurried and sometimes not so pleasant travelers for more hours than she probably wanted to. I felt somewhat sad for her but then I observed her treatment of the customers around me and how she still pressed on and made them feel much more important than her aching feet and soiled apron.

I realized that it was time for me to get to the next gate to catch my last plane home. When I stood up to leave I directed a "Merry Christmas" to her. Suddenly a huge grin came on her face as if she had found a fellow traveler in life. Cheerfully she said, "And you have a Merry Christmas as well". Now this may seem like no big deal to you but I know to both her and me it was. Hearing the word Christmas was almost like a fresh drink of water in a barren desert for both of us. Suddenly I felt the Lord say to me in my spirit, "She's one of mine".

It's funny to me that the word Christmas has become such that it makes some nervous to say it. That day I was so glad that I am the kind who doesn't often get nervous. When I saw the joy in the waitresses face I felt like I had just seen a new family member in Jesus. The word Christmas seemed to connect us both to the real joy of the season.

I challenge us all who know the true joy of Christmas to spread the word. You never know who needs a little reminder of what all this "rush" is all about.

Merry Christmas everyone,


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