“You all got an apartment for rent?”
At first I wasn't sure that's what he said. He was an old man walking along 18th Street across from our house. It was my turn to kick, so I was the closest to him. Home plate (dirt spot) is next to the back gate by the street, and we were playing kickball after supper. Abraham and I against Karsten and Benjamin. (Barnabas just ambles around the infield talking to himself.)
Abraham was on first and I was up to kick. “You all got an apartment for rent?” That's what he said, all right.
I turned and called out across the street, “No sir. Sorry.”
Then came the memorable line, “I'd like to live with y'all. You look real happy.”
So I've been thinking about that for a few days. I've been thinking that there are a lot of unhappy people in the world. There are a lot of lonely people in the world. There are a lot of people who live and work with such unhappy people that they would like to be around some happy people sometimes.
And I have been thinking how Christianity is a religion of joy.
“Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice!”
“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.”
“Serve the Lord with gladness.”
“You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace.”
“The Lord will rejoice in doing you good.”
“Rejoice, for your names are written in heaven.”
“These things I speak, that your joy might be full.”
“The disciples were filled with joy and the Spirit.”
“Rejoice in hope.”
“The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy.”
“We rejoice in our sufferings.”
“The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
“The fruit of the Spirit is joy.”
And it makes me pray that we would be so full of the Holy Spirit at Bethlehem that visitors, full of longing would come in among us and say, “I'd like to live with y'all. You look real happy.”
Seeking the deep strength of joy with you,