Sometime ago, last summer, I had the joy of holding a new baby girl; I marvelled at how wonderfully created she was with a sweet smile even for me, a stranger. Babies always give us joy. But, as the children grow the joys change. When our grandson was very small, he loved to help in our greenhouse so I got him a small watering can and one of my favourite pictures is seeing his face beaming as he watered plants. He is now in 33 but I still feel a real tingle thinking of those days with him. He still loves digging in dirt and grows his own vegetables.
I also remember the wonderful laughter of our daughter when she played with the dog or cat. She still loves animals so I am glad we brought all our children up with animals around. They learn to be kind to animals and to be patient too. They get joy from playing with them and seeing them do tricks. One of our boys taught our dog to roll over and shake hands with one word commands. We all had a thrill from that. It is often the simplest of pleasures that bring us joy.
One of my favourite times is sitting outside with children and showing them the wonderful sunsets God provides for us. I could never paint anything close to it and it has given me joy to point out such wonders of creation to our children. Having fun with children in the piles of autumn leaves brings us all so much joy too.
Last weekend we had a church picnic outside in lovely sunshine. In spite of the June bugs, we had a lovely time being together. Eighty one people turned up on Fathers Day with an amazing array of food and a pig roast donated by one of our congregation that was delicious. As well as food we worshipped together in the lovely fresh air and enjoyed the music of the Praise band and singers. Everyone was smiling and I sensed a thankfulness amongst us even though one family had lost a daughter earlier this year and another family had recently lost babies still born, In their own sadness they recognised the love others offered them and caught the joy that comes from having good friends surround them.
Jesus always enjoyed a party; He was sociable at a wedding and at numerous dinners with the rich and the poor. He said he came to help us to have a more abundant life and to make our joy complete. To do that, he had to suffer for us but His resurrection brought new joy and hope to His disciples. Knowing the joy we will have one day with Him and God in heaven, I can find joy in just serving God by visiting the sick and lifting the spirits of those who are old or lonely. We have so many opportunities to bring joy to family, friends and others in our community. I feel very fortunate to serve in my church as a lay reader and pastoral visitor.