Posts Categorized: Love

growing

 

Sometimes, I sort of miss the baby. I miss being able to pick him up and nuzzle his cheeks and carry him around. I miss holding him while he slept. I miss being able to catch up to him, when he was toddling away and all I had to do was walk fast. Those days are long gone.

Instead, I get to listen to him read books. He can walk on the treadmill. I insist that I stand behind him, with my feet on the edges, while he walks, but he can hold on by himself. I get to paint with him, because he still would rather paint with company, instead of painting alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Train children in the right way,
    and when old, they will not stray.

Proverbs 22:6 (New Revised Standard Version)

I once heard Charles Swindoll talk about this verse. He said that adults often approach these words as meaning that they are the ones who decide a child’s “way.” Instead, he said, our job is to be with our children, study our children, appreciate our children’s abilities, and help them become the people that God means them to be. If a parent has always dreamed of having physician in the family, then it might be hard to accept a teacher or writer or businessperson. Between home and school and church, children need to have all sorts of experiences to help them discover what interests them, what challenges them, what intrigues them. It’s a joint effort.

IMG_3864Meanwhile, if the thunderstorms forecast for Friday morning don’t materialize, Peter and I are going to put on our overalls and do a little yard work (in case Peter decides on horticulture).

 

Geology Rocks

This is the view down my street, looking from south to north. Front yards all flat.

This is the view down my street, looking from south to north. Front yards all flat.

This is the backyard, looking towards the north.

This is my backyard, looking towards the north.

At our house (which is my childhood home), the front yard is flat. But the back yard has a slope. It always has. We used to roll down the hill. (We were much smaller then, and it seemed like a hill. It’s more of a slope.) The first summer my family was in the house, we, with our neighbors, played kickball in the backyard, from our yard and into the neighbors’. (Erase the hedges and fence and trees and grass.) Home base was about where I stood to take this photo. First and third bases were about at the lot line, and I cannot even remember where second base was. Far into the neighbor’s yard, I guess.

We didn’t really think about the hills in the yards. All the lots that backed up to ours were flat. Almost all the nearby streets were flat. Just a few blocks away, there were hills. When I went to ride down Wooded Acres, there was an amazing, glorious, steep hill; a wonderful speedy ride down. But, then, a tedious, strenuous ride back up, which usually ended in a walk back up. If I went the other direction from my house, from my flatish neighborhood, there were hills, too, but not as steep. And if I got a good fast ride down, I might be able to get enough speed to propel me back up, with just a little bit of pumping to get me to the top.

And we never really thought about the sloping backyards and flat backyards. That’s just the way the yards were.

 

 

JoAnne was a geology major at Baylor. For one semester. Doing some research for a class, she came across some interesting data. It seems there’s a fault running through our backyards. It shows up in some geological maps she was pouring over. Not a giant fault. Just a small, gently sloping, hill-rolling fault. The kind that most neighborhoods should have.

For more than a month, I’ve been working in the yard, almost every weekday. Trimming things, and pulling weeds, and planting things, and spreading mulch, and just sort of cleaning up. At my age, I need lots of time to do even the simplest kinds of yard work. But, as I walk up and down and up and down and up and down my sloping back yard, I’m beginning to feel the difference in my leg muscles. And as I clip and dig and haul, I think my arms are growing stronger.

Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;

Isaiah 40:4 (New King James Version)

Fill in the valleys,
    level off the hills,
Smooth out the ruts,
    clear out the rocks.

Isaiah 40:4 (The Message)

I love the King James Version of this verse because it’s part of Handel’s Messiah and I cannot just read it. I sing it in my head when I see or hear these words.

I love the Message version, because it communicates to me that I am the one who should be doing the work. So as I work physically, smoothing out the flower beds, clearing the rocks out of the garden, I can think also of the work I could and should be doing metaphorically, smoothing out rough places in people’s lives, making difficult situations easier, removing obstacles. Maybe it should be a change in attitude. I know the slope in the yard makes it more difficult to mow, but, it’s a great way to strengthen thigh muscles, and a perfect place for little kids to practice their rolling skills.

 

 

It Was a Dark and Stormy Afternoon

I was returning Peter home last Monday. Rain was forecast for Fort Worth most of the day, but we pioneered on with our plan, which was to visit a nursery first, then go to Central Market grocery store and have some lunch and play on the nice playground they have there. (I know, most grocery stores don’t have playgrounds, but this one does.) We did go to the nursery, and I bought some thyme and Peter gave me some germander to buy. Then, on to Central Market.

 

They have lots of prepacked foods, for people who come in and want to get something quick to eat. For the vegetarian boy,it was pretty much a peanut butter sandwich. He lunched in the race car cart while I did a little shopping. (The race car cart is oversized and a challenge to navigate up and down the aisles. But, very cool for a 4-year-old.) We took our groceries to the car and then I moved the car closer to the playground. To our (well, maybe just my own) disappointment, they have redone the playground, removing the very interesting play structures, one that had a suspended plank bridge connecting two platforms (with sides, for safety), and another that had a curved tunnel-type slide, and a third, which I cannot recall very well, but there were three of them that could accommodate lots of kids. Now, there’s a play structure that does have several manipulative sorts of gadgets, like steering wheels, and a double slide, and steps. And a few kids can play and work there without feeling crowded. Then, there’s a slide. Yes, just a slide. And, between those two things, there are two kid-sized (man-made, which is fine) boulders, for climbing on. I suppose that the other play equipment was getting old, and, for safety’s sake, and lawsuit protection, it might have been time for replacements. Sigh. But, there were kids there and Peter had a good time.

Meanwhile, the weather. Things were good, nice temperature, cloudy enough to not be too hot. Good. Until, abruptly, a big gust of chilly wind blew through. I called Peter over and said he could play for five more minutes; feel the wind, see the sky, it’s going to rain.

About a minute later, the two moms called their kids and said they needed to leave. We all raced to our cars. Peter’s house is very near. By time we got his stuff into the house, and, well, chatted a few minutes, it was raining so much that April took me out to the car with an umbrella.

On I30, on my way to I35 (we were stopped for a moment, so I could safely shoot a photo)

On I30, on my way to I35 (we were stopped for a moment, so I could safely shoot a photo)

 

By time I got to the highway, there was LOTS of rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was pretty much the situation until I was quite a ways out of Fort Worth, then, no rain, and we could clip along at regular speed. A little north of Grandview, we had to all move into the right-hand lane. There had been an enormous wreck. I could only see one car. I didn’t know if there had been others involved and they’d been removed, but the car there was terribly damaged. It was up against a barrier in the center median, smashed on the back and sides and front. Whomever was in the car had been removed, and there wasn’t any debris left on the road (and there surely would have been debris). I’d have taken a photo, but, seriously, I was driving!

The skies cleared and the temperature went up, the further south I went.

For you non-Texans--You can see where Fort Worth, and Hillsboro, and Waco are. Grandview is right about where that 35W sign is, south of Fort Worth. And West is about where that highway 77 is, between Hillsboro and Waco.

For you non-Texans–You can see where Fort Worth, and Hillsboro, and Waco are. Grandview is right about where that 35W sign is, south of Fort Worth. And West is about where that highway 77 sign is, between Hillsboro and Waco.

On the way up to Fort Worth, I had realized I hadn’t filled up the gas tank before I left Waco. It was about 3/4 full when I noticed it, so I knew I had plenty to get there. I’d planned to fill up before I left Fort Worth, but by then, it was pouring rain. As I was entering Hillsboro, the tank was 1/4 full, but I thought maybe I should go ahead and fill up, so I wouldn’t be anxious as I drove on.

And this is actually, truly, I’m-not-making-this-up what happened:

The car said the outdoor temperature was 76°. The skies were clear. The air was still. I pulled into a gas station/convenience store on the north side of town. I turned off the car. I got my credit card out of my purse. I got out of the car and walked around the front of it, to the gas pumps. I swiped my card. As I picked up the nozzle, kabam! A giant, chilled wind smacked into me. I had started the gassing-up process, so I filled up the car, struggling to hang onto the gas pump and stay upright myself. The tank wasn’t empty, so it didn’t take quite so long to be full. I replaced the nozzle, and, no thanks, no receipt, and struggled to the other side of the car to get in. E-GAD!!

I checked the temperature as I left Hillsboro, and it had already dropped four degrees. I often stop in West, a few miles down the road, to get fruit kolaches for breakfasts and sausage and ham ones for lunches. Not that day. I was a little afraid of the vicious wind that was chasing me. But, it was slower than I, and when I got to Waco, the car’s thermometer said 81° and things were still. The storm made it to Waco in the night.

Springtime in Texas. Sometimes there’s a nice gentle rainshower, and I can sit on the porch and read and enjoy it. More often than not, it just roars through.

 

But they were no sooner out to sea than a gale-force wind, the infamous nor’easter, struck.

Acts 27:14 (The Message)

When I was a teen-ager, a friend and I had back to back piano lessons, the idea being that we could (and we did) learn two-piano duets by overlapping our lesson times. One springtime afternoon, I was in my teacher’s den, waiting for my turn. The teacher’s mother had come for a visit, and she was sitting in the den with me. As we sat, the light began to fade. The backyard got dark, and a newly arrived wind was whipping the trees’ and hedge’s limbs and leaves in a frenzy. I was pretty much in a “whatever” mode, but the teacher’s mother was beginning to seem panicky. She looked at me, wide-eyed, and said, “Is this a Blue Norther?!?!?!” “Well,” I said, looking outside, “I guess so.” I don’t know what she’d heard about “Blue Northers,” but it must have been pretty scary. Maybe they were infamous. But, she seemed to become a little calmer. I guess my complete lack of interest made her think we were going to be all right. Good thing I didn’t say, “Oh, it could be a Blue Norther. Let’s just hope there’s not a big ol’ TORNADO on the way!”

Anyway, I have lots to be grateful for these days–lovely new plants for my yard, good springtime rains so we don’t have to turn on the sprinklers yet (I love it when God waters my yard for me), safe travel without any sort of collision, and a grandson who lives close enough for us to enjoy frequently.

 

What Definition of “Great” Are You Using?

Earlier this week, I watched three episodes of American Experience on PBS, about America’s involvement in World War I. I never knew much about the war; I guess we never got that far in World History (in something the same way that we never got much beyond the Civil War in American History, or much beyond the Alamo in Texas History). Starting in 2014, as the centennial mark of the beginning of the war meant that there was more attention to it, I tried to become more informed, which just lead to lots of weeping. But, I started with:

Also, I knew that my paternal grandfather served in France in WWI. My maternal grandfather, by time America got involved and established a draft, had four daughters, including a young infant, so most likely draft-exempt.

 

Leroy Goodwin began his service on October 2, 1917, and was part of the American Expeditionary Forces, from June 1918 ’til January 1919, with an Honorable Discharge on February 15, 1919. Armistice Day for WWI was November 11, 1918. I know absolutely nothing else about his military service.

Except that he had some time to shop, probably in those weeks between Armistice Day and when he came back home.

My grandmother in the center. From the left: her brother, Frank, her Army son (Ozero, my Dad), Grandma, her Navy sons (C.L. and Joe)--they all came home alive

My grandmother in the center. From the left: her brother, Frank, her Army son (Ozero, my Dad), Grandma, her Navy sons (C.L. and Joe)–they all came home alive

 

My dad’s older brother C. L. enlisted in the Navy right after the Pearl Harbor attack. Their younger brother, Joe, wanted to, but had to wait until he was a little bit older. My Dad was in college at Ohio State, and wanted to finish school. But, he got drafted into the Army. He ended up stationed in Texas, where he met my mother. He was part of the occupation army in Japan, after the war ended. He did finish school, but instead of Ohio State, it was at Baylor in Waco, where he and my mother lived happily ever after.

David’s dad was a medic in WWII, in Belgium and Luxembourg. His brother was an army man, too.

 

 

 

 

 

I looked at maps, to try to see how WWI affected Europe.

Also, I found this: 40 maps that explain WWI. When I have some time, I think it will help explain things, too. But, I will not have time now. Peter’s coming!

 

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God, (New Revised Standard Version)

και μετα ταυτα ηκουσα φωνην οχλου πολλου μεγαλην εν τω ουρανω λεγοντος αλληλουια η σωτηρια και η δοξα και η τιμη και η δυναμις κυριω τω θεω ημων (1550 Stephanus New Testament [Greek])

יט לאחר מכן שמעתי קול אדיר שנשמע כקול המוני אנשים בשמים: “הללויה! הודו לה’! הישועה, הכבוד (Hebrew)

Afta da big angel guy wen talk, jalike one dream, I wen hear one big noise dat wen sound like get plenny peopo inside da sky. Dey singing,

“God, he da greates! Hallelujah! He take us outa da bad kine stuff we stay in! He da awesome One! An he da One dat get plenny power! (Hawai’i Pidgin)

  После этого я услышал голос, звучащий, как голос огромного множества людей. Они восклицали в небесах:

– Аллилуйя!
    Спасение, слава и сила у нашего Бога (Russian)

Revelation 19:1

No matter how you say it, it’s Hallelujah! Our God reigns.

Hmmm. What’s in YOUR Back Yard?

I actually wrote this a few years ago, and submitted it to a take-home church magazine published by the Mennonites. They have a theme list, and I proposed it for their “Traditions” issue. I e-mailed it off and heard really quickly from the editor, who said, “I love this story. It’s a great fit for our issue on Humor … Thanks so much….it’s wonderful!” Personally, I thought it was more poignant than humorous, but a sale is a sale, and I made $75.00. The photo wasn’t part of the story, but I thought you might want to see the back yard for yourself, and how it really is pretty spacious.

 

There apparently aren't any really good photos of my early elementary years' backyard. They all have swing sets and/or birthday parties in them. But you can see how roomy it is.

There apparently aren’t any really good photos of my early elementary years’ backyard. They all have swing sets and/or birthday parties in them. But, in this one, you can see how roomy the space is. (in the rocker: neighbor Mary, Gayle, JoAnne, neighbor Cindy)

I fell for it every year. While I was getting dressed before breakfast, my dad would yell,“Oh look! Come quick! There’s an elephant in the back yard.” I would run to the back door, astonished at the idea that I might actually see a real, live elephant out there. And, of course, there was no elephant.
“April Fool!” my dad would laugh. Ohhhh. I’d get the joke and roll my eyes and laugh with him.
A year is a long time for a little kid, and every year, I’d rush to look, not remembering the joke until I peered out the back door. As I grew older, though, I was part of the ruse, going outside with my little sister, looking around for the missing elephants, threatening not to come in for breakfast until we’d located the elusive beast.
When my sons came along, they would get the early morning phone calls. “It’s for you,” I’d shout. “Granddad needs to talk to you.” The first time, they listened to him for a few seconds, looked at me in great surprise, then headed for the back door. In moments they returned, confused.
“There’s no elephant out there,” they said to me.
“Granddad wants to clear that up for you,” I said, handing back the phone. And I watched their smiles as they listened and understood the joke.
As soon as my sister’s kids were old enough to answer the phone, she would also roust them out of bed on April Fool’s morning, to answer the insistently ringing telephone.
After my sons went off to college, my dad would phone me on March 31, to be sure he had their campus phone numbers and schedules correct. He didn’t want to call too early, but he didn’t want to take a chance on missing them before they went to class, either.
“Be sure you walk around carefully today,” he would say. “I think there have been elephants on campus.”
By then, naturally, everyone knew the gag. It became a way my dad kept in touch with his grandkids. One of the many ways he said, “You are important to me.”
In the fall, a few years ago, my dad got really sick, really fast. He passed away early that November. One Sunday morning, the following spring, I was getting ready for church when the phone rang. The caller ID showed that it was my younger son, who lives with his wife in Brooklyn. I thought it odd that they would phone me on a Sunday morning, when, due to the time difference, they should already be at church.
“Hello” I answered, with a bit of a question in my voice.
“Mom,” he said. “We were just a little worried about you and Dad.”
“Why?” I asked.
“We heard about a big accident there. It’s on the news.” (I hadn’t thought to look at the calendar and was not at all suspicious.)
“Whatever happened?”
“There was a train collision and it seems to be near you,” he explained. (We don’t live anywhere near a train track, but still I was oblivious.)
“It was a circus train,” he went on, and the confusing pieces fell into place.
“A circus train?”
“Yes,” he went on. “And there are animals everywhere. It looks like your neighborhood, and we think there might be an elephant in your back yard. Go check.”
“I will,” I said. And I went to the back windows and looked out.
“No,” I said quietly, through sudden tears. “I’m safe here. No elephants in the back yard. But thanks for letting me know.”
“Well,” he said. “Somebody had to do it.”

 

 A simple meal with love
is better than a feast
    where there is hatred.

Proverbs 15:17 (Contemporary English Version)

I have a friend who says I grew up in a fairy tale. She’s rather right. It might have been a little more like a 50’s family sitcom. We had enough, and I always felt loved. Even when I kept on going to look out the back door on April 1.

We Took a Little Trip

There was a family wedding in Tulsa last weekend, and we went. I did have to have a small conversation with David about travel. The wedding was at 1:00 in the afternoon, and the reception was at 3:00. Travel time from Waco to Tulsa is about 7 hours, which meant we really could not leave Waco on Saturday morning and get there in time for the wedding. And, we would not be able to enjoy the reception and visit with relatives and be able to leave and drive home on Saturday night. I reminded David that he is, um, well, a senior adult now, and cannot safely drive that distance in the middle of the night. We would have to leave home on Friday afternoon and return on Sunday, and spend both Friday and Saturday nights at a hotel. That’s what we did, and it had a deep Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom! Quite enjoyable.

On Saturday morning, David suggested that we visit the Oral Roberts campus. The campus is a walking only place, but there were generous parking lots. As we walked onto the campus, we stopped at a campus map to look for a geology museum that David thought was there. As we studied the map, a nice young woman stopped to ask if she could help us find something. We said we were looking for the museum. She said, “Um. I didn’t know we had a museum.” We waited for a second or two, and she said, “Oh, is it where the rocks are?” “Yes,” we said. And she was able to point out the building where “the rocks were.”

David said we really should go up in the prayer tower. But it didn’t open until noon, so, no prayer tower visit. We walked to the building where “the rocks were.” We went up the outside steps and into the only part of the building that was open. The only thing that was open up there was the campus book store. We went and asked an employee there about the museum, and yes, she did know where it was, and there was a way to get there from where we were, but she didn’t really know exactly how to do that. The best way, she thought, was to go back out the door, down those steps, and down some other steps, and go in the door down there. Which we did. And, sure enough, right there when we went in, there was a sign that said, “Elsing Museum,” and it opened at 1:30.

So much for “where the rocks” were.

As we walked around the campus, which is pretty, the horticulture was, um, unusual.

IMG_3122IMG_3120David said he thought that some of the plants were those that had biblical references. We saw a couple of trees that were new and interesting to us. I cannot find information on the ORU website. But maybe these plants are biblical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But other plants on campus were more intriguing.

I wondered if there was a horticulture degree at Oral Roberts, but I looked and, no, there’s not. Just some gifted groundskeepers, I guess. Maybe there’s a campus-wide contest each year, and they’re just getting ready.

This was on the grounds of the Chickasaw Nation Visitor's Center. Maybe interestingly trimmed hedges is just an Oklahoma-type thing.

This was on the grounds of the Chickasaw Nation Visitor’s Center. Maybe interestingly trimmed hedges is just an Oklahoma-type thing.

 

 

 

Anyway, the wedding was very sweet, and we got an opportunity to see some family that we don’t get to visit with very often. I got to chat with some preschoolers and hold a baby. And, on the way back to Waco on Sunday afternoon, we stopped in Fort Worth and visited with Peter (and his parents), read him some books, and got to see some amazing magic tricks!

 

Three days later Mary, the mother of Jesus, was at a wedding feast in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited and were there.

John 2:1-2 (Contemporary English Version)

 

The wedding we went to? Jesus was invited and was there, too.

Christmas Yum!

Yeah, I know. Christmas is made of yummy things. Too many yummy things. But those are some of the memorable things of which Christmas (and other holidays) are made. It’s just not Christmas if we don’t have: Mimi’s cornbread dressing/decorated sugar cookies/homemade cranberry sauce/pecan pie/mashed potatoes with peas/pumpkin pie/sweet potato pie/____(add your own family’s favorite here)___. And, to be honest, nobody in our family really loves those vegetable-based pies; but I know some folks do.

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Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree!

 

How lovely are your branches! I love Christmas. I love the lights and the smells and the joy and the wonder and all the other stuff. Like lots and lots of other folks do.

For our first Christmas, we bought a tree at K-Mart. A tree in a box. There was a looming dock strike, and the most talked-about threat was not loss of jobs, not disaster for small businesses. It was, “There won’t be any Christmas trees!” Apparently, fresh evergreen trees are shipped to the Hawaiian Islands for Christmas. And we, not knowing anything different, went to K-Mart for a tree. It was one of those “bottle-brush” artificial trees. We had some ornaments that people in the apartment across from us had left behind when they moved. We’d been to a nice department store and, as we got to the top of the escalator, we smelled the smell of Christmas. We bought the aerosol spray. And we were all set.

The only thing we didn’t have was a tree-top ornament.

Our first non-artificial tree. A little scrawny, but it really did fill up the space better than the barely six-foot artificial one.

Our first non-artificial tree. A little scrawny, but it really did fill up the space better than the barely six-foot artificial one.

We used that tree for several years, then we bought a house and it had 10 foot ceilings. The old tree seemed too short for the new space.

David had been doing work for some folks, out in the country. He’d seen a tree he thought would work for us, and it needed to be cut down anyway. It was great. It made the house smell like Christmas. And instead of the miniature lights that were required, at the time, for artificial trees, we used the large, real Christmas lights that I knew from my childhood. (They were the handed-down lights from Mother and Daddy, so they may have been the lights of my childhood!)

A couple of years later, some friends bought some land out in the country and needed to do some clearing. They offered their place for tree-cutting for Christmas trees. And we went. But, here in Central Texas, the kinds of “evergreen” trees we have growing locally are Cedar Junipers. Yes, they are evergreen. Yes, they smell like Christmas. But they are rather ball-shaped, as opposed to the usual pyramid/cone type of tree that one gets at the tree lot. And, an enormous problem with going out to the country to cut a tree that’s growing out under God’s big, blue sky, is that they don’t look all that big, out there, in the wild.

We had those kinds of trees, for years. Big, full balls of Christmas trees that filled about a third of the dining room. They held several strings of lights and lots and lots of ornaments. But: 1) they do not really have “tops.” They’re a big ball. And 2) they banged right up against the ceiling. David put a big hook (like you would use for a swag light or a hanging plant) into the ceiling and tied the tree to it each year.

So, no tree-top ornament. For years.

 

I resisted the idea of an artificial tree for a long time, mainly because I still wanted those big-bulbed tree lights (you know, the ones from my childhood). A few years ago, I saw an artificial tree at Lowe’s. It had small lights AND big lights!! It cost about a hundred dollars, and I thought that was too much and didn’t get it. And I was instantly sorry. It would be less than the cost of ten trees over ten years time. I went back to Lowe’s and it was gone. I told JoAnne about my poor decision, after I’d been to HEB and gotten a fresh (sort of fresh) tree. She called me a few days later, after her family had gone to Tyler to visit Jim’s mom. “I’m standing in the Lowe’s here, and I think I see the tree you wanted. Do you want me to get it?” Oh, yes, I did want her to get it. It stood, in its box in the garage, for the whole next year, when JoAnne and Natalie were back, and we put it together, and plugged it in. Ta-Dah. An artificial tree with the lights of my childhood.

This year, both sons, both daughters-in-law, and the grandson were with us for Thanksgiving. On Friday, we got that great tree out of its box and worked together putting it up, plugging it in, and decorating. They brought in all the Christmas boxes from the garage, and opened them up to put out other decorations. Jeremy pulled a box from the large can that held the Christmas stockings and asked “What’s this?”

“It’s the tree-top ornament that belonged to my grandparents,” I said.

“Let’s use it,” he said.

“I don’t think it will work,” I said. The opening at the bottom is narrow, and the artificial tree, while not the stiff bottle-brushed tree of our early years still has a rather, um, bristley upright center.

“I’ll try,” he said.

“No, don’t,” I fretted. “It’s very old, and I don’t want it to break.”

“It’ll be all right,” he insisted. And he gently pushed it onto the top of the tree.

 

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

Psalm 98:4 (King James Version)

Isaac Watts wrote the the words to “Joy to the World,” based on the second half of Psalm 98. It wasn’t meant to be a Christmas carol. But, aren’t we glad that it turned out that way. Our Christmas traditions, celebrations, and joy are gifts we receive and gifts we give others. Glad tidings to you and yours.