This past weekend my hubby, kids, and myself traveled to Lincoln to celebrate the first of 5 family Christmases! This usually seems to be the most hectic of the gatherings as about 20 of us cram ourselves into Matt’s grandparents house. We play games and eat soup and then take turns opening presents.
This year we started a new tradition with the Sparkle Box. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the sparkle box let me quickly fill you in. It is a gift box that you decorate and put under your tree and you open as your gift to Jesus. This year our family decided to donate pajamas to the Pajama Program. In addition to that, we read the Christmas story and then lit candles and sang Silent Night.
Right as we we turned out all the lights and began to sing, our cousin Andy stood up and began to just laugh uncontrollably. These past few months have been rough for Andy. He has a mental handicap that falls somewhere on the Autism Spectrum. Due to this it is hard for him to express emotion or even speak. He has been on some different medication recently which has changed Andy into a version of Andy that our family isn’t quite as familiar with.
In the past, his laugh was a staple at family gatherings, but over the past few months he would sleep through the gatherings. We would try anything we could to get him to wake up and join us in eating or to interact with us. Usually he would just continue to sleep.
So for all of us, to witness his joy at our celebration, was a very awesome blessing for all of us to be a part of! I am not sure about the rest of our family, but I had tears streaming down my face and I began to just giggle as well! Our worship allowed him an opportunity to express his joy at the blessing of this season.
This can happen to us at times in our faith. We can be clicking along and we become complacent and apathetic, or something happens and we fail to show emotion and put our heart into our faith. We just go through the motions and miss out on everything that God is offering to us. He may try to get us to wake-up, or others around us may try to get us to wake-up too, and we just continue on the path we are on. Until something clicks and our heart and emotion are in sync with our faith and we have joy.
I think this is the perfect time of the year for us to express the joy that our hearts feel.
So this week if you sing Silent Night, think of Andy and his joy. Stand us and laugh and sing at the top of your lungs and celebrate the miracle of the birth!