This is the second week of Advent. Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of the Advent themes. This week we light the candle of JOY.
My daughter, Ashley, was home from New York for Thanksgiving. We took advantage of her being in town for her to visit family friends, Pete and Kristin. Kristin, and her older sister Kari, are like sisters to Ashley. They are the daughters of one of my best friends. We have known them since Ashley was a preteen. Over the years they were always there with encouraging words, ready to listen and including her in their lives. I know she misses seeing them both and she was glad to at least be able to see Kristin. It was especially nice since Ashley had yet to meet Kristin and Pete’s newest addition, sweet baby Nixon.
The evening we arrived, Kristin’s home was already filled with family. Pete’s mom and dad, brother, sister-in-law and their baby girl were all visiting for Thanksgiving. I was engaging Pete’s dad in conversation when I noticed a concerned look on his face. He looked at me and nodded toward Ashley. “Is she okay?” he sweetly asked. That’s when I saw it…I was so caught up in greeting people I almost missed it.
Kristin was standing beside Ashley after just placing baby Nixon in her arms. Ashley, holding and seeing Nixon for the first time, was moved to tears. She tried to turn away so no one would see her cry. She knew we’d probably tease her. I am pretty sure her tears surprised even her. I was not surprised though. I had seen her do this one other time, when she met Noah, Kari’s son, for the first time.
Pete’s compassionate dad continued to be concerned for her tears. “Why is she crying?” he quietly asked me. I assured him she was okay, but struggled with explaining “why”. Teary eyed now myself, all I could bring myself to say was , “Its because she loves Kristin”. He smiled, obviously relieved.
You see, Ashley does not cry every time she holds just any baby. But that night, and when she held Kari’s son for the first time, she could not help but be overwhelmed. She held and looked into the sweet face of a baby born to someone she loves dearly, someone who has loved her unconditionally. They were tears of JOY.
I have thought of Ashley’s precious tears a lot this week. In the Christmas season we are surrounded by images of baby Jesus. What would it have been like if Mary had placed baby Jesus in my arms? I feel certain I too would find myself moved to tears. I know, because even as I write this, I am fighting back tears at just the thought. I imagine holding the son of THE ONE I love completely. Cradling Him in my arms and looking into the eyes of the son of the God who loves me unconditionally. There would be tears, tears of JOY.
We may not be able to hold Him in our arms, but we can hold Him in our hearts. May this week we consider the treasure of knowing the Son of God and forever mindful of the Joy of it all.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great JOY, that will be for all people.” Luke 2:10