Okay, my back east cousin posted this cute Facebook meme, and my first reaction was to wonder which of the two LEONs in our church would appreciate these letters as a gift. Then I realized my cuz was just joshin’ me (and all her other readers).1 The Amazon delivery guy had probably dropped the package in his truck and the letters got jumbled. I moved them around a little and realized what they were supposed to spell. I responded to her post: 

George Van Alstine: Send them to ELON Musk.

Within a short time, two other equally intelligent peeps agreed with my conclusion:

AnnaMaria Rogers: Hmmm…nope I don’t know any LeonBut I agree with maybe sending to Elon Musk

Robert Zwier: I know Elon . !!!!

Within a few hours, we had the makings of a new cult. 

There’s an important Christmas word that can only be spelled one way. It’s our Third Advent Candle subject: JOY. Rearrange the letters and you come up with nothing: OYJ, YOJ, OJY. YJO.  

I actually learned this spelling through a Sunday School song in my childhood:

Jesus and Others and You
What a wonderful way to spell joy
Jesus and Others and You
in the life of each girl and each boy
“J” is for Jesus for He has first place,
“O” is for others you meet face to face,
“Y” is for you, in whatever you do,
Put yourself third and spell JOY.2

Think of the simple wisdom of this song. A baby girl is born with an awareness of her primal personal needs. She cries when she’s hungry, when she needs changing, when she wants comforting. It’s all about her. Slowly she becomes aware that her parents also have to attend to their own issues, and there are probably sibling needing attention as well. If she learns to adapt by recognizing the needs of Others in the household, she’s on her way to becoming part of a mutually nurturing family.

Of course, that just spells OY, and OY can be a difficult life without a first letter (“OY!”). During her childhood, our girl becomes aware that there is a Higher Power, and that Higher Power is known as God. She senses that she needs to find a place for him in her life, but he seems so far off and unapproachable. Then one day she’s introduced to Jesus; maybe through the Christmas Baby in the manger. If she embraces his truth, she realizes that Jesus can be the key to a meaningful, purposeful life. If she accepts him and puts him first in her thinking, she’ll begin to spell JOY as Jesus – Others – You.

– – Pastor George Van Alstine

1 Come to think of it, I have another cousin whose name is Noel (one syllable).

2 Jesus and Others and You, Written by B. Metzger, 1951. Hear the song at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTfbnQ1t1M0