You don’t have to be around children long before you experience unbridled joy and laughter! When I was in Thailand, I went with our Thai house-parents, Daniel and Joy, to pick up some of the other children who were coming back from a visit to their families. Upon returning home, I went to my guest house, located beside the larger house for the parents and children. I thought I might relax for a few minutes before going over to the house.
However, it wasn’t long before I heard the voices of the three youngest children, the “littles.” They were giggling and whispering as they peeked in my window. I jumped up and invited them in. Soon we were playing an animated game of “rock, paper, scissors.” After a while, we switched to “hide-and-seek.” This required creativity as there wasn’t much furniture to hide behind but the gales of joyous laughter were worth it all! Once we were tired out, I said we should go to the house to see if supper was ready. Our “mom” had the last laugh when she informed us that we had played so long that the rest of them had made supper, eaten and were ready to clean up.
The children pitched in to do their evening chores and then we gathered to play “Phase 10,” a new game Amber had left with us for the evening. I explained with actions and English and “Mom,” Joy, translated into Thai. The competition was stiff as we shared strategy and eased through the phases until Joy won the game!
The next day we played again, this time with Amber. There was definitely more Thai and the children were more animated and chatty since they now understood the game. Again, the competitive nature came out in some of the girls and Joy as one teased another about always discarding the exact card she needed, as if trying to help her. There was a lot of laughter and good-natured ribbing as one had a “good feeling” about a round, another quickly beat us in a round, leaving the others in the dust, while others caught up to those of us who got stuck on one particular phase. While Amber won the game, we were all winners for having enjoyed each other’s company and knowing that God delights in each one of us (Zephaniah 3:17).
The dictionary defines joy as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Happiness is fleeting but joy is a fruit of the Spirit and this Christmas, our prayer for you is that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10