Friday, December 18, 2009

Jump for Joy


I saw a little boy jumping up and down as his father handed him a puppy. I saw a little girl get off the school bus and go skipping up her driveway. Adults jump for joy on the dance floor and when they've made a winning touchdown. My father once lying on the couch, watching a Notre Dame game, got so excited his whole body jumped and ended up on the floor. In the finale of the ballet "The Nutcracker" Mikhail Baryshnikov jumps amazingly over and over to the joyful music of Tchaikovsky.
In chapter one of Luke's Gospel when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, visits Elizabeth, her cousin tells her, "The moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb jumped for joy." The Greek Luke uses is also used of a lamb frolicking in the fields. Earlier the angel Gabriel, announcing the coming birth of John the Baptist, tells his father, Zechariah, "He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth." When Gabriel appears to Mary his greeting in the Greek means, not "Hail," but "Rejoice!" In announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds the angel says, "I bring you good news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people." In Luke's whole Gospel everybody jumps for joy!
The presence of Jesus in ourselves and in others makes us jump for joy.
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