I love games. I grew up playing board games with my family and when we'd finally exhausted Monopoly and a dozen others we started trying to make our own board game. We've picked it up again a few Christmases over the past fifteen years, and we did again this past Christmas. It was hysterical and fun.
For the first time in our gaming history we came up with a functional game that had a beginning, a middle, and an end. It worked. But like a fifth grade creative writing project, it lacked depth. It wasn't something we ever really wanted to play again. This led my sister and I to think through more and more about what made a game great. This is a topic we're still working on and while we have some ideas, it isn't a perfect science either.
This train of thought led me into other questions of whether or not games have purpose and whether or not my delight in them is well-founded. After all, games are not terribly practical. Their main purpose is pleasure. I play them for the delight they bring in the challenge, the friendship, and the story.
There are more dots in the connection than I can explain, but I eventually rabbit trailed this into seeing this as yet another metaphor for life. Life is God's game with us, not in a malicious or spiteful way. But it is full of challenge, friendship, and story. I should see those things in life with the same kind of delight and perseverance, the same kind of sportsmanship in winning and losing, the same appreciation that I have for board games.
And it all comes back to my phrase for the year: "For the joy set before him..." and thus "For the joy set before me...".
May we all look to the joy set before us, right in front of us as well as stretched out ahead past difficult things.