I try to be a happy man. A sad Christian is a public rebuke to his God. They say a flag flies over the castle when the king is present. The idea inspired this little chorus we used to sing; “Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of your heart when the King is in residence there.”
My mom worked hard to teach me the secret to joy when I was small. She was faithful to teach me the Bible and not just me but every kid in the neighborhood. She was devoted to gathering the children of the neighborhood into weekly clubs called Joy Clubs one afternoon a week.
In JOY CLUB we had a theme song. Here is how I remember it:
Jesus and Others and You
What a wonderful way to spell JOY
Jesus and others and you
In the life of each girl and each boy
J is for Jesus for he has first place
O is for others you meet day to day.
Y is for you, in what ever you do
Put Jesus first and spell JOY.
On Tuesday night we went strait from the school bus to the church for Joy Club. We would sing songs, and Mom or a friend would tell Bible and missionary stories with the aid of pictures and modest prizes. She awarded prizes to those who had perfect attendance and memorized their Bible verses and brought visitors. One of the prizes I labored hard for was a red and white felt beanie. It was called a “JOY Beanine” because it had the word JOY spelled out in macaroni letters. You may laugh but my mom grew up in the fifties when beanies were “cool.” The year I won mine was about 1968 and we lived in the country where people weren’t too concerned if you were a half-decade out of fashion.
Through my diligent effort I won my own JOY Beanie and ran home to look at myself in the mirror. There in macaroni letters on the front of my beanie was the word JOY reminding me of the timeless truth that the secret of joy was to love God with all my heart and to love my neighbor as myself. That was almost forty years ago. The beanie is gone but I still have the joy every day.
A kid with a beanie today would be laughed out of the neighborhood if not beaten, but the idea of joy growing from putting Jesus and others before you is timeless. I’m grateful for my mom’s efforts to spread joy around the neighborhood.
I hope you have a happy day. Remember: “Joy is evidence to the world that God can fully satisfy the human heart.”
November 27, 2006
P.S. Mom says the JOY was not spelled with macaroni…. she says she can produce evidence to prove it. I yield. I think my mom’s spiritual gift is teacher, and you don’t want to challenge “teacher types” on details. You will loose every time. Nonetheless the salient details of the story are true and facts aside I will always remember my felt beanie with macaroni letters. I reserve the right to postmodern reconstructions when I deam that there is literary merit for them. 🙂