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img_3165We call our fourteen-year-old Bichon by the name Dobby. If you are not a Harry Potter fan, Dobby is the name of one of the beloved house elves in the popular book series about the wizard world. He is one of the heroes in the story. We got our Dobby when my girls were five and seven, near the beginning of our family’s love affair with these books. We started reading the books out loud to them when they were new readers, but they quickly graduated to exploring the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione on their own. When the last several volumes were released, we began ordering two copies because our family of four could not possibly bear to take turns with only one book.

Bad mom alert: I may or may not have suggested to one of my girls that they could skip their homework to read Harry Potter so that I could get my hands on one of our copies more quickly. Luckily, the books were usually released in the summer.

To further convince you of our Harry Potter obsession devotion, last year over the girls’ Christmas break from college, we re-watched all eight Harry Potter movies as a family. In case you are wondering, 19 hours and 40 minutes is how long it takes to complete this movie marathon and no, we did not do it in one sitting.

When Universal Studios in Orlando opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in 2010, our family was understandably intrigued. We vowed to go, but life had gotten particularly busy with high school activities and dreams of college by then, so we never made it.

Until last weekend.

So why am I telling you all of this? Don’t worry, gentle reader. Although I know you love me, I promise I am not going to subject you to a slideshow of our family vacation (ok, maybe a few photos but only enough to demonstrate my point. You are welcome.)

I am thinking about the word delight today and I wanted to paint a picture for you. As I began to write this post, I sat quietly and tried to conjure up an image of the word delight and this is the what came to mind.

img_3170When we walked into Universal Studio’s imagining of Diagon Alley last Friday, I heard Brooke gasp. She turned to me, her eyes filled with emotion and her face lit up by a thousand-watt smile. Later in the day, after they had chosen their interactive wands, I watched the same exclamation of joy transform Alex’s face when she successfully created “magic” with the flick of her wand. The world of their imagination had come to life!

Nothing warms a parent’s heart like an expression of sheer delight on the face of their child.

Even at twenty and almost twenty-three.

Delight. I’m not sure what the dictionary definition of delight is, but I sometimes think of delight as joy with a grateful heart. When we experience joy so deep that our spirit acknowledges the moment with a silent thank you, I think we are connecting with delight. Because we are sometimes surprised by delight, we often laugh out loud in response. As I am typing, I’m smiling and giggling to myself just thinking about it.

(Because I am on an airplane, I think the people around me may be getting nervous.)

In Zephaniah 3:17, we find one of my favorite bible verses and learn the origin of our experience of delight.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songsZephaniah 3:17

We are created in the image of a God who delights. Even more mind-blowing is the source and focus of his delight. You and me, his children, are the heart of his exclamations of joy. He created us and pursues a relationship with us simply because he delights in us. Our existence makes him happy.

For some reason, God being sad or angry is easier for me to imagine sometimes. Especially lately, as I grieve the angry rhetoric in which our country is currently immersed. I do believe God has an opinion on all of this ugliness. I believe He is sad we are grieving and angry we are hurting one another, just as I experience pain when my children are sad or hurt.

Yet I am finding it important right now to grasp and remember the delight as well. In spite of our self-destructive tendencies as a species, God hasn’t given up on us and there continues to be a great deal of goodness, light and beauty in the world. At the risk of sounding a bit naïve, even in the midst of my conviction to harness our anger into action (GO VOTE!,) I am clinging to images of puppies with fat tummies, the sounds of  babies belly laughing and the kindness of strangers who offer a few dollars to the homeless man on the corner.

And the look of sheer delight on the face of my child, knowing God feels the same way about me.

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Linking up today with my friends over at Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday around this topic: delighting the heart of God. Read more delightful words HERE.

Tell me in the comments below what brings YOU delight!