When the kids won’t go to bed…

Last night, Blair and I were putting the kids to bed, except that never happens. There is no ‘just’ putting the kids to bed. They argue for every reason to stay awake. “I need water. What about another story? You didn’t read it right. I need to brush my teeth again.” Even when we do get them into bed and threaten the loss of television for the next 18 days, there’s a set of doors they call the secret passageway.

Last night, after we switched off the lights, one of them snuck into her sister’s room. They didn’t try to hide it. They were dancing and singing and laughing in their favorite costumes! I told Blair that I didn’t want to be the fun police! Would she mind? To my surprise, she swung open the door and started singing and dancing along with them. Sometimes, you just have to let the joy happen.

How much are we willing to allow joy to happen? If people act too joyfully and look like they’re having too good of a time, other people get nervous!

This Sunday is Palm Sunday. What started off as a movement of 12 disciples has swelled into a caravan of joy among the multitudes! The people are shouting ‘hosannah’ as Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. You can sense the joy and anticipation in the air. Some of the Pharisees in the crowd bend Jesus’ ear, “Teacher, scold your disciples! Tell them to stop” (Luke 19:39). Throughout the gospel, the Pharisees grumbled against Jesus and his joyful movement of God to save sinners. In fact, Jesus often compares the work of God to joyful occasions: weddings, parties and banquets. The keepers of the law could not understand this type of work that broke boundaries and accepted people often considered unlovable.

On Palm Sunday, the disciples were swept up in the joyful commotion of God’s saving work. The keepers of the law wanted to squelch their excitement. Jesus responded, “If they were silent, the stones would cry out.”

As Christians, we are called to do what the Pharisees could not. We are called to let the joy of the Lord happen. In truth, we can all find ourselves fearful that joy can’t  happen. We can feel guilty about being joyful. But the witness of God is that joy can happen if we let it. Let the joy happen in our lives even when we can’t explain it. Let the joy happen even when we don’t think we deserve it. Let the joy happen in the sad times and the happy ones. Joy comes from the knowledge of God’s gift of salvation. Salvation has come for you and with it, joy! Hosannah, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

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