Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

I found an article I wrote seven years ago hidden away in a file.  I read it and my heart was warmed all over again.  So in this second week of Advent I thought I’d share my heart warming experience with you. 

There is excitement at our house.  We have our first grand-pets.  Caroline (age 3) and Luke (age 1) now have two fish.  One is named ‘Happy’ and the other is named ‘Silly’.  It was an exciting phone call I received this past Sunday afternoon to announce these new members of the family.  They are on Facebook where they are lovingly introduced by Caroline as new members of the family.  Wow!  What a joy ‘Happy’ and ‘Silly’ have brought to a little girl’s world.  And because of her joy—we have joy as well.

Isn’t that how joy works?  True, unspeakable joy, is contagious.  It is literally impossible to deny a smile when real joy shows up.  It is parallel to keeping your eyes open during a sneeze—impossible to do.  When joy shows up through the eyes and heart of a child—a smile appears and that smile takes over your face.  I am always glad when joy shows up through another person—it usually ‘makes my day’.  I think I understand why the Apostle Paul would list ‘joy’ first in his list of the fruit of the Spirit because he, too, knew its contagious value (Galatians 5:22).

I have a plaque just to my right at my study desk.  It reads “Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God”.  There is an insight in that saying.  How does God show up in our lives?  Through fish named ‘Happy’ and ‘Silly’?  Through a little girl and little boy’s pets?  Through a phone call from a granddaughter to her ‘Pop-pop’?  Maybe! 

I think God shows up in all kinds of ways in all kinds of places.  Sometimes I miss God because I’m too busy looking for him in the ‘spiritual’ and not in the ‘temporal’.  But just maybe God appears in the simple and in the obvious.  Perhaps God is best experienced in our relationships.  Perhaps God is experienced best, not only in our relationship to God, but also in our relationship to each other and to God’s world.  After all, God does seem to be a God interested in relationship.  The most important relationship, of course, is between us and God.

So welcome to the family ‘Happy’ and ‘Silly’.  We’re glad your home is our home.  Thanks joy for showing up through a little girl’s excitement.  Thanks God for knowing the little things about us--the numbers of hairs on our head and having your eye on the sparrow (Matthew 10:29, 30).  Thanks for the simple joys you use to bring real joy into our lives.  It is joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1: 8). 

And that’s the way it was seven years ago.  Today our granddaughter and grandson (their sister too) have a ‘grand-dog’ and they are asking (begging their parents) for two hamsters.  Joy continues to abound and it continues to be contagious.  May it be so for all of us in this season of anticipation of ‘Joy to the World the Lord is Come’.
 Always Thinking…


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