Unpacking God’s Gifts – Joy!

Meditate: Psalm 16:11

Extended Reading: Psalm 16:1-11


  • What do you most enjoy doing?
  • What is the best trip you’ve ever been on?

Relate: Several years ago, we decided to plan a family vacation to Disney World.  To make the trip happen, our family made extreme changes.  We saved every penny we could find.  We stopped eating out.  We clipped coupons.  We cut back on date nights, movies, and desserts.  When you start cutting out ice cream, you know it’s serious!

Going All Out: Once enough money was saved, we went all out for the trip.  We stayed on Disney property, rented a limo to go from our house to the airport, made reservations to dine with character, lined up all the rides we wanted to go on, we even met personally with Peter Pan and Wendy.  We ate like kings and queens in the castle and we had the best strawberry shortcake in the world (hint: it’s at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue in Fort Wilderness and I promise, it will change your life).

Being Together: As the trip came to an end, I sat down with my daughter Isabel and asked her, “What did you enjoy most about this vacation?”  Isabel answered, “Just being together.”  Selfishly, I thought to myself, “We could have saved a lot of money and just hung out at home!”  But the thought stuck with me.  The real magic was not manufactured by Walt Disney, it was the joy of being together.  Joy was the real gift.

Real Joy:

  • In Psalm 16:11, David writes about joy in the presence of God.  For it is with God, David experiences authentic, enduring joy.  The pleasure of the kingdom likely abounded for Israel’s greatest king, but the real gift was being with God.  Sometimes I feel the pressure of going above and beyond to bring my children happiness.  But the truth of the matter is they delight in being with me more than they delight in the things I could buy them.  It was great to meet the “Fab Five” at Chef Mickey’s, but the best part was doing it together.  My encouragement to you is to delight in the presence of your Heavenly Father.  To draw real joy from God-closeness.  If you’re feeling the pressure to do better or do more as a parent, remember where real joy and fulfillment come from.

Family Fun:

Chat Prompts:

  • Name 10 things that make you smile and share why.
  • Being joyful often involves laughter.  Try to make each other laugh without saying any words!

Wake Up: Truthfully examine your heart and your home.  Consider the places, moments, people, and things you draw joy from.  Think about the kind of joy you experience with each of those things.  Do you delight, as David writes in Psalm 16, in being in the presence of God?  What could this look like in the life of your family?

  • Preschool Kids:  Help your preschooler understand what real joy is.  Throughout the week, ask them different questions during wake up time like “What do you think will be the best part of your day?  What does the best part of your day feel like?”  Tell your child, “The good feelings you experience during the best part of your day, that’s joy!!”  Spend time sharing what you take joy in and give examples of when you experience joy as a parent.
  • Elementary Kids: This week, point your elementary kids towards joy.  When your child wakes up, help them feel joy with a smile and a hug.  Relax as you guide them to their day.  Ask, “What will be the best part of your day today? What part of the day are you not looking forward to?” Answer the questions personally.  Take a moment to read Psalm 16:11 and let your child know, “Today, you can find joy in God’s presence.  In the best parts of your day and in the worst parts too.”

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