Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sounds of Joy

The week before Christmas is never "business as usual." The administrative offices are located in our women and children's shelter, and for Christmas a type of "store" is set up in the classroom. This store is filled with donated toys and other gift items for the mothers who stay in our shelter to "shop" for gifts for their children. Tables with wrapping paper, tape, scissors, and gift bags (for those of us who are wrapping challenged) are set up in the hall leading to the offices. There is even a plate of cookies to de-stress the challenges with tape and tissue and corners that aren't straight.

Yesterday, the sound of sudden laughter echoed right down the hall, through the wall, and into the board room, where we were opening a meeting in prayer. We often pray for our guests, supporters, and fellow staff members, and the sound of the laughter seemed a perfect background for our requests.

Christmas, especially with recent events, can be a sad time for many people. They look at what the day is supposed to represent and they regret what they do not have or what they have lost. Our guests could feel the same; homeless and in need, they could let present circumstances rob the joy of this celebration of the greatest gift ever given to mankind (John 3:16). But there, in the midst of a shelter, was the music of spontaneous joy.

In her struggles with wrapping gifts for her children, the wrapping paper had rolled clear off the table. Frustration? No, laughter. And with the laughter, gratitude at the generosity of those whose compassion has allowed her to provide a bright Christmas for her children. Even in the midst of trials and struggles, they are surrounded by love.

Our prayer for you is that you overcome the frustrations we too often feel with the "hassles" and rush of "Christmasing." Instead, may you find joy, no matter your circumstances or personal trials, and celebrate Immanuel, God with us!