Also that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women also and the children rejoiced. The joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off.
ou know, the Bible is just filled with the stories of celebrations when a big job is finished. That’s a great feeling when the work is done and we can see the results of our obedience and labor. Great, indeed. That’s not the main point of our study today, but it does make me do a little quick Q & A to find out if there are any projects God has asked me to complete that are still waiting for my attention. Maybe if joy seems slim in my life, it’s because I need to do the last thing He asked me to do before moving on to something else.
Having said that, the point I want to focus on today is this cool little generational element folded into this scripture. I wonder what would have happened if the women had surveyed the work and said, “Meh. It’s not that great. Now we’re just going to have to clean that wall all the time.” Or what if the men had walked all around the wall and just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Shoulda made it taller if you ask me.” I think that if the moms or the dads would have refused to join in the joy party, the children would have refused as well. In fact, I’m convinced of it. There’s something about the role of a parent that invisibly drives the emotional current in a home. I don’t think we even really want that power, necessarily, but we have it and we need to be responsible and intelligent in how we use it.
Had the men high-fived each other and rejoiced alone (“Job well done, buddy!”) it would have been meaningful. But when the women and children step in, it becomes a wonder that is heard throughout the land. Read that again: “throughout the land.” I love the idea of Sanballat and Tobiah sitting in their tents and hearing the sound of rejoicing as the people celebrate the completion of a project that these guys had tried their hardest to stop. For whatever reason, I have visions of the Grinch, hearing the sounds rise from Whoville – “Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day.” You gotta love it when the good guys win!
As a mom, it’s so important that I demonstrate the power of joy to my children. I need to have it strong and active in my own life so that they will understand how to access it as well. Actually, a few benefits here:
1) They see joy in me, they recognize it as a resource for strength.
2) Intentional joy brings emotional stability that is built on authenticity and not repression.
3) It’s so much more fun to live with a joy-filled person, especially in the hard times. Someone who can “set joy before them” is a treasure in a family… and I want to be that for my husband and children and grandchildren.
4) I believe that families who prioritize joy will be stronger, healthier, happier together. How could they not be?
Hoping I can hand down some joy today,