Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jump for Joy

Hello Friends.

Everyone has one annual event, or one family tradition, that definitively makes Christmas official.  What is yours? What ritual do you and your peeps do that inaugurates the Christmas season?

For some it's the hanging of the greens the act of putting up the tree, decorating it and the house with all those much-loved cheesy, twinkly, shiny ornaments.  For others it may be a traditional cookie-baking marathon (YUMMMM) creating a multitude of different sweet delights and whose aroma brings the Christmas holiday alive in the home.

Or maybe it's the music, the first sound of a Christmas carols as you ride in the car, or maybe just endlessly rotating supply of Christmas music drifting through the house.  For me and my MOM it's when she gets home from Christmas Eve services at about 1AM and we cuddle on the couch and watch "A Muppet Christmas Carol."  Whatever the event or activity that makes Christmas for you, the result is a sudden surge of joy in your soul, satisfaction of spirit, peace in your heart.

Do you ever let yourself jump for joy?  Of course you do, you are pups and kitties, that what we do.  But what gets your peeps not only on their feet, but off their feet and into the air?

The only place adults jump for joy that is socially sanctioned is at sporting events. When the puck skids into the net, the ball swooshes through the hoop, the player speeds over the goal line, crowds get off their seat, spring to their feet, and jump up and down with the excitement of the moment.

 But other than celebrating a scoring victory in sports, they are pretty shy about expressing so much giddy happiness, that they literally jump for joy.  They leave the joyful gymnastics to us and children.

In fact, in Luke 1:39-45 it's a child who jumps for joy when the miracle of Christmas first appears.  In his first prophetic act, the still unborn John the Baptist leaped in his mother Elizabeth's womb when Mary walked in and greeted her.  The Messiah himself is now before Elizabeth and her unborn child. This awesome proximity immediately fills Zechariah's small home with all the joy, all the hopes, all the prayers for the redeeming Messiah that the people of God have been waiting for.  No wonder the yet-to-be-born John the Baptist jumps for joy.

Every few years some film studio puts out another "life of Christ" movie. No matter how pious or reverent, how controversial or creative, how inspired or uninteresting, all these films share a common vision of Jesus the Messiah, the Christ. He is always portrayed as some tall, long-locked, solemn, sermon-spouting fellow who walks as though he is treading on eggshells and whose face always looks as though he has just finished sucking on a big kosher dill pickle.  I find that interesting.  Every film-maker is anxious to show how being the Messiah was a soul-sobering, mind-sombering business.

Think how scandalized even the most modern film-maker would be if some radical director cast for Jesus a short guy with a round little belly, that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly! Bawhahhaha it will never happen!

No, Jesus wasn't Santa Claus.  But it's almost as if the peeps need Santa at Christmas to free them to laugh and jump for joy at Jesus' coming. If we didn't have Santa, but just had Jesus, could they be merry at Christmas? Does anyone else find something tragic about this?

Do you really think Jesus would have been such a popular party guest on the "A" list of all the local rowdies (the tax collectors, the rich, the morally lax) if he was nothing but a sad sack, despairing wet blanket?

When Jesus healed the man who had been confined to his bed for years, don't you think both the healed and the healer grabbed each other, whooped and danced, and jumped for joy at the audacity of such a miracle?

Do you really think Jesus would have just patted Jairus' daughter on the head and solemnly walked away from a child suddenly breathing again, suddenly filled with life again? Surely Jesus, who so loved to have children surround him, scooped her up and swung her around in delight, for her life was a miracle.

As the loaves and fishes began to multiply, filling the hands and bellies of more and more, until the whole hillside of five thousand plus were eating, and baskets of leftovers were being collected, did no one jump to his or her feet and let out a victory whoop?

 Did Jesus' disciples just plunk down their baskets and their butt's next to a statue-still Jesus?  Why can't we imagine Jesus and the disciples dissolving into a joyous food fight with all those baskets of leftovers, reveling in the unabashed excess of God's gifts?

Perhaps the peeps need Santa at Christmas to help them be merry and joyous because they have a flawed understanding of Jesus.  The first reaction to Jesus' presence on earth, of God-in-our-midst, was joy. Joy so tremendous, joy so utterly overwhelming that it must somehow escape the bounds of earth itself and jump towards the heavens.

Joy to the world. . . let heaven and nature sing! Let the beat of your heart beat in rhythm with the universe.  Jump for Joy!


  1. Bravo! Wonderful post. Merry Christmas, Goose and Mom. XOXOXO

  2. Thank you for the jumping for Joy. I will say that Dad now jumps around with me when we play and because I am now happy enough to play, what ever makes them Happy! Merry Christmas Goose.

    Your Pals
    The Scottie Twinkies

  3. The Joyful Jesus has always been our Jesus. Merry Christmas Buddy

  4. The shalom of God available to all...we're jumping for joy, Goose.

  5. Dear Goose (and your Mom,Michelle),

    What a beautiful post, I love the thought of Jesus and his followers jumping for JOY...I think you are right that a joyful reaction to miracles, etc. is more likely than a somber reaction. Thank you for sharing such wonderful thoughts for us to ponder. May your Christmas be joyful and merry; and full of the love of Jesus.
    Take care,
    Lucy (silent MOD from Troy, Ohio)

  6. I'm pretty sure that Jesus dude was as happy and giddy performing all those awesome miracles as we pups are when the first snow comes down or the first leaves fall! Why shouldn't he have been? I'm ecstatic when I get to go out in the morning, so bringing a person back to life is, IMHO, at least one step above! ;-) I can't wait to start me and Domeek's own Christmas traditions!!

  7. My Mommy's birthday is Christmas Day. And we celebrate St Nicholas on that day. (even though his special day is Dec 6.) He is the Saint of Families, Children, Sailors, Prisoners, Justice, Bakers, Thieves, Pawnbrokers and of Gift Giving)
    Me tries to exemplify St. Nicholas in my life - everyday!
    Me LOVED your post today Goose

  8. You know, I never thought about it, but Mom and I have often thought that Jesus would be a fun person to sit down to dinner with, and that he would be a person who smiled a lot. I think whatever the reason, though, that we should definitely be happy when we think of him and Christmas!


  9. I loved your joyful message and love to think of Jesus with a smile and a twinkle! Also loved all the joyful jumping pictures!! Hope you have a joyful Christmas Eve with your mom and the muppets. Now I am going to JUMP into my bed.


  10. beautiful post AND photos!
    my mom's bday is 4 december so our christmas season begins on 5 december. her parents never did any christmas decorating until after her birthday and she continued the tradition.
    you made me BOL with the idea of Jesus and his disciples in a food fight. i like the idea of Jesus having a sense of humor and being just one of the guys. maybe he even had a dog and would feed it table scraps when Mary wasn't watching! BOL
    blessed wags, bailey

  11. The words, the pix, purrfect! We start our Christmas on Christmas eve like Maj our Queen. It is a European tradition and we get two celebrations. I love your snow romps Goose. Have a super Sunday.
    Best wishes Molly

  12. I think maybe the people making the films try to show Jesus as a calming figure. Maybe?

    Love the pictures. So happy and carefree.

    Our family just tries to get through the "holidays" as best we can.

  13. Hi Goose
    AS PER NORMAL your Sunday post made our spirits soar and our hearts jump for joy! Absolutely beautiful.
    Our little Yorkie friend Pip is feeling poorly. Please add him to your prayers

  14. PS
    I had no idea you could jump so HIgh. Very impressive
    Madi your BFFF
    Warmest wishes and hugs to you and mom

  15. Such a beautiful story this morning Goose! We jump for joy because we're all healthy and happy and are so blessed in many ways.

    Our newer tradition always starts with putting the first ornament on the Christmas tree. It's a photo ornament of our Grandma who went to Heaven almost 5 years ago. She was a wonderful woman and she still to this day deserves to be front and center. She puts the joy in our hearts (and the tears in Mommy's eyes too.)

    Sending you and your Mom Christmas Blessings across the miles.....

    Lily Belle, Muffin, Kim & Rolf

  16. well i am not jumping right now, to old to jump but i did get much joy from watching you Jump for Joy... no traditions now, but my mother was queen of traditions, all of them and she did jump for joy at Christmas

  17. We love those jumping photographs! Such joy. It also made us think of the Jesus on the side of the University of Notre Dame library. That Jesus overlooks the football stadium (!), and he is called, "Jump-Up Jesus"! (But then the powers that be made the ND football stadium bigger, and it is hard to see "Jump-Up Jesus" from inside the new stadium now.)

    All our traditions are all wonky since we moved to Switzerland and started living this bicontinental life. Your post reminded Mom that it is time to start some new traditions.

    Merry Christmas and lots of wags!

  18. Thanks for your wonderful post;o) our tradition for christmas is the muppet christmas carol too (I'm a fan of Rizzo)and a long walk through our village ;o)


    ??? ONE (1) thingy that OUR peeps do???? Try 87,000 of those WHITE thingys. We know it is CHRISTMAS TIME when we See THE EVIL ONES come out of storage.

  20. Wonderful pics Goose! Let's all jump for joy that Jesus is with us!

    Stay Calm & Bark On,

    Murphy & Stanley

  21. Momma puts on the Muppet Christmas Carol while she decorates the tree after Thanksgiving!

  22. This is very true! Thanks Goose for sharing your wonderful insights with us! Merry Christmas!


  23. Look at all that fun! :) Merry Christmas!

  24. Oh, that was a great story Brudder Goose!! (I especially love the 'food fight'!! BOL)
    I thinks maybe Jesus had the spirit of a dog....just like you...


  25. You sure do have the moves!!
    Benny & Lily

  26. Love all the photos of you jumping with joy, Goose!

  27. Beautiful post, my friend....oh and another thing....I REALLY could use you on my football really have some good moves! Merry Christmas!

  28. Oh Goose, I had to smile last night when I read this post. I think you know why, cuz we both had JOY on our hearts and minds yesterday (facebook photo :) You are absolutely correct we need to come alive and jump for JOY! We have been given the greatest gift of all time and some don't even know it...that makes me sad. We need to shout it from the roof tops---we've got the joy, joy, joy down in our hearts and the heavens need to hear us sing!!! oh, JOY to the world!!!
    Loved all your jumping photos, but that last one is simply beautiful!!

  29. Mom said that when she was a little biped, she had a little "picture" of Jesus tucked into her Bible. He was holding a lamb and smiling at some children. She liked the smiling part - and that He'd hold a lamb in His lap. It was that it was any animal. Like it could have been me. Ha woo.
    I love your jumpy pix. They make me want to jump for joy, too.

  30. What a wonderful post! I completely forgot that Jesus is okay with people jumping for joy and I loved all of your examples! Truly, if I could attend your church regularly (all the way from NH) I would because your sermons are wonderful and I can feel the love and passion for souls that you have in every post!

  31. Goose, Christmas blessings from our home and heart to you and your mom. You have shared some important Truths here!

  32. Blessing Goose ~ Guess we are lucky because Yes, Jesus loves me!
    Yes, Jesus loves me!
    Yes, Jesus loves me!
    The Bible tells me so.
    Sunday School was always a happy joyous place and it continued that way in our lives.
    Sweet William The Scot

  33. Jump for joy! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  34. Yes, Jump for Joy, Goose!
    We know what Christmas is about!
    Jesus didn't have all the commercial backing and P.R. that Santa did. I'm trying to picture Jesus in a Coca-Cola ad. Maybe he would be more about diet 7up, but he smiled and laughed.
    Merry Christmas,

  35. You look so joyful yourself Goose. all your jumping, maybe our beans should show off and jump more.

  36. Bravo! Mom and I are two feet in the air! Lady Caroline

  37. Joy to the world is right. This was beautiful. It should be in a book. I could read this over and over and over again, finding incredible inspiration in it each time. Goose, you're really good at jumping for joy!