• Mount Tabor UMC

Devotional for December 6


We all have moments in our lives we remember when we first learned a new word. And more than that, we remember when we first learned the meaning of that word.

I remember being perched on a corner cabinet in the big old choir room of Sam Jones United Methodist in Cartersville, Georgia. The choir was warming up for service and for some reason I was there instead of in a pew. “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay” they sang as they stood moving with the music and the choir director’s enthusiasm, green robes swaying, music folders unneeded against their chests. Their emotion was evident on their faces, in their voices and in the energy emanating through the room even to the corner with me on my perch.


That was joy. I was bouncing and swaying and smiling. Joy, down in my heart to stay.

I am sure I did not go into that choir room expecting to discover a joyous event or to come away from it with an experience that would last so long. I am certain that my mother knew the joy to be found there. It was an experience she wanted and pursued. I am also certain the choir director knew the joy. He sought and guided his choir toward it. He knew, he imagined, he searched, he led and he encouraged the people before him because he knew the joy that music would bring.

Joy repeats itself. Just as Mary knew what ley ahead for her as a mother, she planned and anticipated the joy of motherhood. My mother sought the joy that came from camaraderie, words and sound. The choir director, like the Wise Men planned, inspired, anticipated and guided his group to the joy that came from music. And there was myself. Instructed no doubt to sit and do my job of being a good girl when like the shepherds, joy found me.

Joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay.

I believe joy is a gift. Perhaps it is the result of a goal reached after a long journey, perhaps it is the result of patience and planning, or best of all, perhaps it is a surprise bubbling up from an unexpected source like a baby’s laugh to lighten out hearts when our path grows dim.

Jesus was a joy that Christmas night. To each of us a different sort of joy to keep in our hearts to stay.

Written by Susan Henkle