Some years ago we were doing a renewal conference in a great Gothic cathedral-like Presbyterian church in Omaha. As people came in they were given a balloon filled with helium. They were told to release it at some point in the service when they felt like expressing joy in their hearts””during the anthem, the hymns, the prayers or the sermon. Since they were Presbyterians, they were not free to say “Hallelujah,” or “Praise the Lord.” Letting go of the balloon would represent praise going up to God. So all through the service, brightly colored balloons were rising up to bounce off the ceiling, visual signs of praise to the Lord. But oddly enough, when the service was over, about a third of those balloons were still left unreleased. Those Presbyterians either felt no joy, or, feeling it, could not bring themselves to express it. You may have had parents who have hung onto their balloons. They can’t rejoice at your birth if they are unable to rejoice at all. At John [the Baptist’s] birth, parents and neighbors alike released their balloons.
–Bruce Larson, Luke: The Preacher’s Commentary, Vol. 26 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2002), p.43