Sharing Our Stories: December 18

Writer’s Name:  Mike Herzberg

Writer’s Ministry:  Lay Leader

Assigned Text: Zechariah 9:9-10

Word of the week: Joy

I was about ten years old and most of my friends wanted a new Stingray bicycle with raised handlebars and a long “banana seat”.  I was a nerd! I wanted the newest chemistry experiments Lab! I loved science and was always getting into trouble for the traces of flour or baking soda that I would spill on the kitchen counters. (A half cup could be considered a “trace amount”, right?)

Each year, before Christmas, my brother and I could thumb through the special holiday issue of the J.C. Penny catalogue and circle three things that we just “had to have”.  Normally we would receive one of the toys we had selected along with several other items that our parents had chosen. We did not have a lot of money.  So, I always tried to “increase my odds” by selecting some socks or a pair of pajamas or maybe a new shirt along with the one item I really wanted. My plan seldom worked the way I wanted it to!

This particular year I had, against all rules, circled four items instead of the required three. I chose a pair of pajamas, a pair of socks, a Gilbert Professional Chemistry Experiment lab, and a new game: Mousetrap.  By making those choices I was certain that I would at least receive the new game for Christmas.

Christmas morning finally came, and I could not have been more excited nor filled with more anticipation! My best friend had received Mousetrap for his birthday one month earlier and I loved playing it! My brother and I came into the living room examining the gifts under the tree, each of us searching for our name written on a small tag. I found three: two were “soft” (and you know what that means!). The third one was obviously a box, which rattled! We opened our gifts, and I received my expected new socks; instead of pajamas I found a new sweater. The box I saved for last turned out to be my new Mousetrap game! I was happy, yet disappointed, because I really did love science and thought that my wish might have come true. My father saw the mixed look on both our faces (my brother had wanted a drum set!). He told us to each “check out” our bedrooms. I opened my bedroom door, ran to my bed, and hugged the box that was laying on top.  I can still see the look on my mother and father’s faces when I returned to the living room, eyes filled with tears of joy, carrying my own Gilbert Professional Chemistry Experiment Lab! I can also hear the beat of drums coming from my brother’s room! Joy is what I felt even during many failed experiments!

Daily Prayer: Lord Father, fill our hearts with anticipation of joy as we approach the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. When have you experienced unexpected joy?
  2. Does anticipation diminish or increase the level of joy you experience?
  3. How have you experienced joy in your journey to know God?

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