Song of Joy


Only God’s love fills our deepest longings and helps us to love others, even if others don’t love us the way we want them to.

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him .... —Lamentations 3:25 (niv)

"It’s time for my annual accordion concert," I announced a few days before Christmas. My accordion saga started when I was eleven and I longed to know that my daddy loved me. He was a man of few words and had a quick temper. His name was Carroll, and I was named after him.

He was proud of my older sister, who was getting rave reviews in community theater productions. My father feared I might suffer in her shadow, so he suggested I play the accordion. “You’ll be invited to all the parties because everyone will want you to bring your accordion and play.”

He got me a sparkly gold accordion, and I learned to play a couple of polkas and some Christmas carols. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that a fat girl with glasses wasn’t going to be invited to parties because she played the accordion. So I quit . . . and resented my father for suggesting the idea.

After I was grown and my father had died, I found my accordion at my mother’s house. Instantly, I was an eleven-year-old girl again, playing the accordion, hoping to make her father proud. The memory was the same, but I was different.

I’d become a mom and had learned that, in spite of our best efforts, parents don’t always give the kind of love that perfectly meets a child’s unique needs. I’d also learned that only God’s love perfectly fills those longings and helps me love others, even if they don’t love me exactly the way I want. So every Christmas, I take out my accordion and play carols in memory of my father because our name means “song of joy.”

Jesus, Your love and grace shapes the way I understand my memories. —Carol Kuykendall
Digging Deeper: 1 Jn 4:7–12

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