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Just Joyful

Just Joyful

What’s the most effective way to deck the halls for Christmas? Try joy!

"Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles,” said an unknown speaker. I’d like to agree.

Here are three reminders I've seen recently, pointing me to the joy of Jesus at Christmastime. (You might say I have a few angel-finger-sized pokes in my side. Did you overhear the whispers that said, "Pssst! Just be joyful"?)

1. Krugerrands and Free Tolls

OK, this happens every year. Someone tosses a solid gold coin or two into a Salvation Army bell ringer’s red bucket. Others skip the automated highway tool lanes and wait in lines for the cash-only booths, simply to prepay the road fees for anonymous motorists inching up behind them.

I actually benefited from this random act of Christmas kindness a few years ago. Before I had the automatic transponder, I pulled into a toll booth on the interstate to learn that the driver ahead of me had paid my toll. Sure, it was only 40 cents, but it made my day to see unconditional goodwill in action. It happens!
2) Caroling with Gusto

Christmas carolers can be charming or downright obnoxious, depending on the setting and their sense of personal boundaries. We’ve all experienced all-too-up-close-and-personal crooners, harping histrionically into our ears in cozy restaurants and even crowded bus stations.

But the real Christmas spirit is contagious, when it arrives.

Last night, one little girl stole the show during a children’s choir performance I was fortunate enough to attend. Eight four-year-old cherubs lined up on the platform in the church sanctuary, dressed from head to toe in holiday finery. But one child stood out, once the music started.

I can’t call her a songbird, so to speak, but she had volume and energy. The kid had some pipes! This peppy preschooler hollered the lyrics, occasionally even marking the melody.

The Psalmist described the attitude of this precocious chorister aptly:

“Make a joyful noise unto God, all the earth;
Sing forth the honor and glory of His name.
Make His praise glorious!”
(Psalm 66:1-2, Amplified).

This kid’s noise was definitely joyful. When the song ended, the place positively exploded with applause. Hey, no one ever said joyful noises had to carry perfect pitch.

3) Prepaid Layaways

I love stories like this one. Mysterious secret Santas in Indiana and Michigan (and perhaps elsewhere) have been stopping at Kmart stores to pay off layaway purchases for other shoppers. Thousands of dollars of owed funds have been presented by the unknown benefactors on behalf of total strangers.

Apparently, both customers and employees are acting considerably jollier since the trend began about a week ago. Can you blame them?

"Jesus joy special on aisle seven." Gotta love it.

Jesus’ joy is catchy, and it’s free.

Malls are crowded, and parking lots are packed. Rudeness and impatience may easily abound, it doesn’t have to.

Sometimes joy can be shared for free, though it’s always worthwhile.

How can we catch a moment of Christmas love in action?

Here are 10 simple suggestions.

  1. Waving another driver into a prime parking spot at the mall
  2. Donating a toy for needy children.
  3. Complimenting a total stranger on a pretty outfit in a store fitting area (without being creepy)
  4. Greeting a tired store employee with cheer
  5. Dropping off a dozen cookies at a neighbor’s house
  6. Opening the door at the package shipping site for someone with a pile of parcels
  7. Smiling at passersby for no apparent reason (again, not creepily, of course)
  8. Sending a Christmas greeting to a soldier overseas.
  9. Inviting an overwrought fellow shopper to go ahead in the checkout line
  10. Visiting a local nursing home to sing Christmas carols with friends … or just to visit
How many more ideas can you suggest? How can we give the gift of Christmas to keep Jesus’ joy going on and on and one?

“Peanuts” cartoonist Charles M. Schultz offered this definition of the happiest holiday season:

"Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone."

Joyful Christmas to you!

Singing Children’s Choir
Public Domain Clipart

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  1. Awesome and so true. Those who give anonomously to others know the true value of giving. Sometimes, being on the recieving end of that can change a life. I have a couple (or more) stories of times when someone did something for me and changed me. I also thank God for the three Christmas Angels who helped me out when I fell and couldn't get up the other night. We are Jesus' hands, would He not be giving and helping every chance He got?

  2. Rats! I thought I was supposed to throw the Krugerrands into the toll gate basket! Ooops.

    Another fine post LAN, and you are gaining!