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Recently, the Church celebrated the beautiful Feast of the Visitation. As I listened to the story again at Mass, the phrase "Jump for Joy" literally "jumped" out at me. This phrase, of course, is not the exact one used in most of our translations of scripture. But, for some reason, this was the phrase that bounced around in my head as we walked to our car after Mass.
John the Baptist "jumped for joy" when he entered into the presence of Christ as an unborn babe. As well, my guess is that his heart also jumped for joy when he first laid eyes upon the adult Christ at the river Jordan.
"Jumping for joy" seems to be held in high esteem throughout all of scripture. Examples are easy to find. King David was well-known for his open displays of affection and praise to the God he served, often jumping and singing. In Acts 3, the lame beggar was cured through Peter and immediately went about jumping and praising God. Luke openly exhorts us in his gospel to leap for joy! And, as most of us know, it takes little reading to find that the Psalms are also filled with countless mentions of jumping for joy.
In fact, references seemed to be all over the place! Clearly, this uninhibited joy is truly celebrated by the Author of scripture Himself, and He is pleased with it. Interestingly, if this is so, I find that it begs an important question.
Why am I not jumping for joy more often when I enter into His presence?
Obviously, there are many times when physically jumping up and down would not be appropriate and would actually be considered irreverent. But, physically controlling my actions should have little reflection on the jumping for joy that I should be experiencing in my heart!
'My Jesus, You are here!'
'I am in Your presence! You are truly here with me!'
These thoughts should cascade freely out of my heart whenever I come near Him. But, sadly, I realize that I am so often distracted by all that is going on around me, grounding my joy and arresting my thoughts of wonder and praise. I am ashamed to think of how often this occurs.
If an unborn baby has the wherewithal to "jump for joy" in the presence of the King of Kings, I most certainly should as well. Hopefully, this little one's small movement has created a much larger one in my heart.
As we reflect on scripture's approval and encouragement of "jumping for joy" in God's presence, may it stir in us the joy that lies deep within to produce an expression of it that may come ever closer to that which is more worthy of its intended Receiver. And may we be fully assured that He will be pleased beyond measure to witness us making that jump!
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