Usually, when we see B&B we think of a Bed and Breakfast place, a place to go on vacation. A get away, someone else doing the cooking, cleaning, if only for one night and morning.

But this weekend has placed a new meaning on B&B for me. It was a weekend that started with six baptisms of precious Chinese people, one of whom I’ve taught over the past year. And it ended with a special celebration of the 90th birthday of a friend.

What impressed me was the expressions on the faces of these precious brothers and sisters. The joy, the expectation, and the basking in being loved…

As one young man stepped down into the water, he closed his eyes and folded his hands. He opened them again to see where the pastor was, but kept his hands folded together tightly… nothing would break his prayerful grip. I thought he looked happy, until he was lowered into the water and raised back out, hands still folded, but raised up as though in a shout of victory, his face aflame with joy: The joy of obedience, the joy of his salvation, the joy of being loved by the creator of the universe.

At the birthday party last night, we had a nice time. It seemed like things were winding down. The birthday girl, Mary, 90 years young, had been teased several times that she was at least 70, and she smiled as we talked and enjoyed a meal together. And then the music came on over the speakers, “Happy Birthday to you,” and the waitress appeared with a huge plate of ice cream, enough for all of us at the table, waving a sparkler in front of Mary. Mary’s eyes sparkled with the sparkler, a new glow appeared, and her smile was a beacon of joy.

Joy in obedience; joy in being loved; the joy of my salvation. Do I shine like that when I consider the wondrous salvation that I have? Do I find joy not just in obedience, not just in being loved by my God, but joy in HIM, for who He is?

No, I don’t—not always. But like the waitress, He brings sparklers into my life to get my attention, and suddenly I find the joy overflowing. I am so thankful for B&B weekends!