Joy and the State Fair

My kids absolutely love the fair, as you can tell from this pic.   We’ve been taking them pretty much their whole lives  (This was my boy’s first trip, but he only got to enjoy whatever mom ate).  My girls were beside themselves this morning, waking up before us and coming in to our room to “encourage” us to get up.  It’s almost like Christmas, the anticipation of the yearly trek to and through the NC State Fair.  And this year was no different.

My oldest spent the trip over telling us everything she wanted to do and ride and see, and eat (of course!).  Whether it was going through the flower exhibits with her mom (she is SO her mother’s daughter), or convincing me to ride some crazy contraption I have no business getting on, she was non-stop from the moment we arrived.  My youngest found her sweet spot when we ran into one of our neighbors, and their little girl became her partner-in-rides.

We ate too much of stuff we shouldn’t eat (but no deep fried candy bars this year!  We were good!).  We saw crazy things,  like the Ent-ish Plant Woman who not only freaked my kids out, but me as well.  We laughed a lot, and we got really tired.  We throughly enjoyed a beautiful Carolina Fall day (if 84 degrees constitutes fall) together as a family.

But you know what hit me the most, and most frequently?  The beauty in the sheer joy my kids had in nearly everything they did, especially the rides.  My oldest rode some new hang-gliding ride twice, and she laughed and smiled the whole time.  Even the second ride was as cool to her as the first.

It was joy.  The joy only a child seems to really experience fully, because we’re just too cultured and mature to let ourselves go.  It was joy that lasted until the tickets ran out, and the energy finally ran dry.

It hit me tonight that this is one of the reasons Jesus told us to be like little children, or we won’t receive the kingdom (Mark 10:15).  If my kids are this excited over a few hours at the State Fair, should we not be all the more excited over what God has done for us in Christ?  Or how about what awaits us when this life ends?  (Ephesians 2:6-7)

It convicted me, that’s for sure.  My kids should be excited about stuff like this, and it’s my job to tell them why they’re so excited.  It’s because they, and all of us, were made for so much more than what we experience here.  The special days, the special events…all the joy we we feel here and now…it’s just a shadow of the joy to come.

So enjoy the shadow.  Enjoy the time you have here, and all the blessings that come with it.  But realize it’s not the goal.  It’s just the appetizer.



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