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It is called “the happiest place on earth.” You may know it as Disneyland or Disneyworld. When you think of the place (if you’ve been there) you may think of light-hearted music, Mickey Mouse hats, little children and the excitement of the Main Street Parade. Those are not bad images. I have fond memories of taking my children there and being there with grandchildren. But is it really the happiest place on earth?
Think about it: you drive or fly hours to get there. Then you check into a hotel that charges exorbitant rates just because they are close to the theme park. The next morning you get up early and fight your way into a parking spot in a crowded lot. You pay a highly inflated ticket that allows you to enter through the gates. You stand in long lines, and if it hot, you may sweat profusely, while you wait an hour or more to take a ride down the mountain that lasts maybe 3 minutes and at the end of it you get soaked with water. By early afternoon, the kids start to whine as they get tired (they really can’t help it, bless their little hearts!) You buy a burger that’s not all that great but you nearly have to mortgage your home in order to feed the family because they are possibly the highest priced burgers on the planet.
Night falls and the electric light parade starts and everyone is crowded along the streets but you must see it. When the parade ends, you turn and see your little ones fell asleep long ago. So you head to the parking lot, but have to buy a balloon at the exit which promptly is soaring heavenward when the balloon gets loose while you help your kids into the car. You arrive back “home” at the hotel, get the kids to bed and collapse, relieved the day is over. And then it hits you – you have a 3-day pass and tomorrow you gave to go back again. And suddenly, the happiest place on the earth isn’t quite so happy looking any more.
You see, happiness can’t be bought with money. Happiness is transitory, temporal – it just doesn’t last. But blessing does. That’s the big difference between happiness and being blessed – blessing is timeless, happiness isn’t.
So if Disney isn’t the happiest place on earth, what is? I think it isn’t as much a place as a way of living. Solomon put it this way: Ecclesiastes 2:26 (NIV) – To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
The happiest place on earth must surely be inside the heart of the person who knows they are loved by Jesus and who walks by His side.
PRAYER: Lord, we so easily fall prey to thinking that happiness is in what we have or where we travel rather than in resting in Your love! Teach us to seek to please You, for therein we will find more joy and happiness than we could ever imagine! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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