A joyful heart is goof medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. PROVERBS 17:22, ESV
I grew up as a PK-“pastor’s kid.” Being a PK had its advantages and its disadvantages. While living in New England, my father was usually responsible for three or four churches at once. Of course, this also meant that every Sabbath of the month we’d attend a different Church and I’d only get to see my church friends once a month. On the flip side, this also meant that I had a bunch of sets of friends all over the state. My dad pastored Spanish churches, and the great majorities of the members in my father’s churches in Massachusetts were from Puerto Rican dishes and appreciate their traditions.
One tradition was especially interesting. On an unannounced night between Christmas and New Years a large group of people went door to door, bringing all kinds of instruments and singing traditional Puerto Rican holiday music until the person opened the door. The songs were lively, catchy, and even humorous. The group would go around for hours, surprising their friends with music and joy. Since my dad was the pastor, our home was reserved as the last stop of the night- usually arriving around 2:00 A.M. They’d park in our driveway and sneak up to the front door and suddenly break into loud, joyful song. We didn’t have any Puerto Rican neighbors where we lived, so every year my dad’s goal was to hurry and get them into the house as quickly as possible so as to not disturb the neighborhood. I’ve always remember our Puerto Rican friends as very joyful people. Even when faced with challenges, they were upbeat and smiling.
More and more it seems like we are surrounded by grumpy, long-faced people. Many people think joy is something you have to achieve, but it’s not; joy is a choice. Will you choose to be joyful today? Want to know a secret? People love to be around happy people.