Mom turned 94 yesterday. And she is doing great!! Many family members were able to gather around a dinner table on Sunday to share a birthday dinner. Others sent cards, called and emailed. And Mom’s community of fellow retirees celebrated even more! They sang happy birthday to her in the pool before a water workout and again when dessert was served at lunch. It was a fabulous celebration of a woman who continues to reach out, to minister to others, to love, and to pray.
I love celebrating birthdays and anniversaries and…well, I just like celebrating!
When our granddaughter, Zara, was pretty young, her Mom and I surveyed our great room late one Christmas morning. It was a disaster with paper and presents and ribbons and boxes. Kiz looked at me and said something I will never forget, “It’s too much.” She went on, “Jill, next year we need everyone to hold back.”
Little Zara probably had not been listening to all that we were saying but her ears perked up when she heard “hold back.” She immediately ran to her Mom and me pleading “don’t hold back, don’t hold back.”
We too often think like the very young version of Zara – holding back means we get less stuff. But, at this time of my life, holding back has nothing to do with the material world and more about relationships. When we celebrate the love of Christmas and the unbelievable gift of Jesus with others, the wrapping paper fades away in the brilliance of real joy.
When we think about it, we both know that it isn’t the amount we spend or the time it takes to make a celebration joyful for others. It can be the simple things.
– Enjoying an ice cream cone in the McDonald’s parking lot watching traffic.
– Standing outside amazed at how the harvest moon lights up the sky.
– Sending a short text with a silly picture.
– Making a quick phone call to say “do you remember that time when…?”
– Softly patting the back of that almost-adult, but still frustrated teenager, as they walk by.
– Sitting through the concert/play/recital of a budding star (or not so budding).
There are so many ways for us to bring joy that don’t involve a credit card or wrapping paper or hours in the kitchen. During these remaining 61 days, let us not “hold back” our love for others.
Would you sit with me for a little while? We might each be able to think of a way to celebrate a moment of God’s joy with someone.
Love, Jill (just one of God’s kids)
“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor.” PROVERBS 21:21