Dave Barry is a funny — and at times insightful — writer. In his piece "Important Things it Took Me 50 Years to Learn," he states, "Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance."
Speaking of dancing, how long has it been since you let yourself jump up and down for joy?
Maybe it was at an athletic event. Even the most subdued among us might display a burst of wild and wonderful energy when our favorite team plays well. You've seen it happen, like when the puck skids into the net, the ball swooshes through the hoop or the running back leaps across the goal line. People spring to their feet, spontaneously waving their arms, vigorously clapping, pounding on one another or wildly jumping into the air with excitement.
On other occasions, however, most of us are too serious, too shy or too afraid to express so much giddy happiness. We might feel like jumping for joy, but we hold back. We restrain ourselves.
Somewhere along the journey into adulthood, we learned to put a clamp on those surges of exuberance and joy. We shrug our shoulders, surrender to life's routines, and leave the jumping and shouting to children. In fact, when we see someone else in the midst of a wild celebration, we tell ourselves that it looks "a little childish."
But here is some liberating good news. Take a deep breath and consider what God's angel said when he announced the birth of Jesus.
"Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people" (Luke 2:10).
When God speaks, we should listen, right?
God has intentionally choreographed opportunities for all of us to jump for joy, to leap to the cadence of his love and truth. Jumping into this dance doesn't take any special skills or shoes. It doesn't require a good band or a flawless floor. Anyone can join in at any time.
Joy is the music of the soul, a music so overwhelming and infectious that our toes start tapping, our fingers get drumming, and our whole mind/body/spirit can't help jumping up to dance.
The good news of Jesus keeps getting better because the bad news of the world keeps getting worse.
The good news is that God loves you and created you for a purpose. What's more, you can know God personally by trusting in Jesus. His ultimate desire is for you to spend eternity with him. God has really long range plans for your life, and this time of year is an excellent time to rethink your relationship with him.
In the words Dr. Seuss gave to the Grinch after his conversion to the happy ways of the Whos down in Whoville: "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps — means a little bit more."
He's right. The authentic Christmas message is electric with genuine, transforming, lasting joy. It makes me want to jump straight into the air. And I don't care who's watching.
The Rev. Micah Smith is president and founder of Global Gateway Network (www.globalgatewaynetwork.org), author of "Heaven's Heartbeat," and a Tri-City Herald Spiritual Life contributor. He enjoys trail running and coffee roasting with family and friends. email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.