Wednesday, December 14, 2011

joy, joy, & more joy.

i was thinking about Christmas Advent... & the joy that Christ brings. I was thinking of one person in particular who has exemplified that for me: my pop.

this is how the story begins: ( i know it's not super detailed and perfect but it's as i know it:))

my grandfather (pop) was born the baby of ten and his mother was very sick and couldn't take care of him so he was raised with a few of his siblings in an orphange in central illinois. right out of high school he decided to join the navy and served (what ended up being his whole career). shortly after his time overseas he married my grandma. they loved each other, they lived for jesus and she was an example of an amazing servanthearted woman. they raised four children together and they have twelve+ (plus many other grandchildren through second marriages) grandchildren not to mention ... i don't know even where to begin with great grandchildren((but let me mention he knows all by name and birthdate). my favorite picture of them is them standing by niagra falls with yellow rain coats on... a trip they went on right before my grandma got sick. they desperately wanted to make it to fifty years of marriage but were two years short when she lost her battle of leukemia eighteen years ago (on december 21st).
{me, my grandpa, my mom & my firstborn}

my grandpa kept going as any widow tries to do. although he didn't continue to do everything the way she did, he's kept going none the less. You see- here's my point, my grandpa's life wasn't out of a story book but throughout all of it he has chosen joy. For him, that often means making light of situations and laughing even when times were tough. I cannot remember a time visiting him when i've come out for breakfast in the morning and his Bible's not open - he always has praise music going and he's choosing to laugh in the midst of a trial. i know he's not a perfect man but in all the life that he's seen you know that regardless of his circumstances he chooses to see joy.
{pop & my grandma & my parent's couch many ages ago;)}

just a week ago he was taken to the hospital with health problems. the verdict... he's 80+ years old and has some health issues (at that age i think it just comes with the territory?) but as my mom was giving me the play by play she sent me this text: 'the whole time in the ER he was cracking jokes.' that's just pop... him in the moment of weakness exuding joy.

everytime around this year i think of my grandma... things i wish she could have taught me (she was an amazing seamstress and cook), wishing we could have had more memories together (she died at 65), and of course that she could have been a great grandma to my kids and met my man. She had a beautiful smile and a sweet little giggle. her wake and funeral were a testament to how great she was... there were so many people. I'm glad that i was able to be part of the clan that was there to say goodbye to her while she took her last breath... literally. and then i think about my grandpa and how he's continued 18 years without the love of his life with joy. true joy.

true joy... is not finding happiness in circumstances or allowing circumstances to dictate your attitude but it's having a supernatural delight in Jesus Christ.

as i look back on this year and as i look forward to Christmas i think of joy over this year... that my year had joy because God was at work and he has used all the circumstances of this year to show me his love, his faithfulness, and that he reigns in all the world.
{one tradition he kept up was handing out cracker jacks with this hilarious santa outfit on}

i pray that joy would fill your christmas memories this year,

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