“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?  Yes, you are our glory and joy!” – 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
My luck will run out.  I know the day is coming when the gift lavished upon me will end.  So for now, every time I come home and my children run to me, yelling with excitement, I drop everything.  I embrace them with all that I have. It is a healing, cleansing, and restorative moment.  The joy of those few seconds has the power to instantly overcome all of the baggage from the day. I crave that moment and miss it terribly on the days when work keeps me away from home past their bedtime.
The truth in this experience and in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica is simple.  There are relationships that bring us joy. There are people whose presence buoys our spirit.  There are communities that hold us up and affirm us.  Relationships that engender joy are a gift from God.  Making time for these relationships must be a priority for us because it is a priority for God.  The scripture says that God delights in us; that God enjoys the world.  This relationship we’re a part of between creator and creation endures not because of our morality nor because of God’s grit but because of an overflowing joy that wells up in the heart of God.  The joy we feel in relationship with others is sourced by the joy of God for all that is.
Paul’s words to the church in Thessalonica are God’s words to us.  “Yes, you are our glory and joy!”
This is what my children say to me through their hurried, giggling steps and what I say to them in my embrace. I know that my kids won’t always greet me at the door when I come home.  And that’s OK.  Because, while this season of life will pass, the joy that is expressed in that moment, as well as all of the joy that is shared between us, is eternal.  I can take the joy my children give me and reflect its warmth and glory with others.
 “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” ― Mark Twain