Joy is an incredible experience. To have joy is wonderful, to experience joy is …well… joyful. To have it as a feeling or emotion is almost to be euphoric.
If you were to look up some synonyms of the word “joy” you would find such words as:
I find those words to be bland compared to the word – joy. It is just a small word…just three letters, but it packs quite a punch when you say it….joy…JOY!! It seems to suggest merriment, like a tickle in your tummy about to burst forth from you in something like a giggle.
Actually, when I think of joy I think of young children.
Their faces alight with happiness, a small giggle escapes from their lips as their eyes sparkle with merriment. Every fibre of their being is excited and their little bodies move to the excitement they feel.
As adults we say we are excited, happy… maybe? But how long has it been since we really felt joy in the measure that children feel joy?
As we come up to Christmas we see the word “joy” written and spoken aplenty. We adults seem to think that this means doing something that will make us feel glad. Mmmm… that seems so bland.
When they were young, both my sons loved Christmastime, going places, swimming, playing, eating (except vegetables), seeing their friends, having a bath, story time at bedtime, walking running… well do you get my drift? They danced and jumped about with everything. Their joy for life was part of their thinking, part of their movements. And everything was an adventure!!
As my children are now teenagers, to get an “all-over-body-can’t-control-the-excitement” thing is very rare. And giggling is less… except at the meal table when they both giggle uncontrollably over something that they can’t remember, but can’t seem to stop either. The thing is – I like to see them laugh without restraint.
The joy of a child is a little bit contagious, and to see their happiness brings a deep satisfaction.
As a mum, I love to see joy in the hearts of my children, not surface pleasure, but deep down joy that bubbles forth. I know my children are happy, despite the fact that it is apparently uncool to smile a lot. Last night we were preparing a light tea in the kitchen and my eldest tried to have a battle of wits with me, which soon spilled over into uncontrolled laughter. Someone gets the tissues as tears rolled down our faces. We leaned against the kitchen sink, and tried not to look at each other as to start over again.
They are happy inside… do you know what I mean? Inside they are happy. Even when thinks don’t go their way they do not stay discontent. The words they speak and their actions…it comes from a place of happiness and simple joy. And…since they are teenage boys, the greatest joy comes from seeing food in the fridge or cupboard!! (joke)
It is not just the surface laughter that I look for in others. It is deep down joy that is there in the hard times and the tears. The gladness of heart that is there despite heartache. The joy that comes from deep within our inner being… where the Spirit of God resides.
God is joy.
Think about that…
Our God, who is the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, is joy. If He wasn’t joy, then the fruit of the Holy Spirit would not be joy. Gal 5:22 The Holy Spirit would not give us a fruit that was not totally owned and fully God.
Do you see God as joyous…or not?
Next question – Does God’s presence in your life bring a joy that does not come from the momentary situations and circumstances we find ourselves in?
Joy to each one of us is different, because we are all different. While some people seem to bubble, others have just a happiness about them. Likewise, the joy of God shines out of us differently, sometimes it glows, and for others, it is the light in our eyes.
Joy is not limited to one thing or and it is not necessarily an emotion. I also think, that joy is not always a feeling…more like a knowing. Emotions pass by, and feeling don’t stay forever.
Joy is not only outward, but inward. It often takes the form of the more “bland” words of happiness, contentment, calm, bemusement, gratitude, and thankfulness Those of us who are less exuberant are more like to have a more sedate form of “joy”. Joy often takes a more sedate form when we are in pain or heartbroken.
I know that in the deepest darkest moment of my life, there was still a spark of joy. It was still there, but my focus was dark and my eyes saw only bleakness. When I came through that time, I saw that joy had never left.
Since then I have gone through some really tough times, those who know me have seen this private (and sometimes no so private) pain. Joy, like the faithfulness of my God, was always there. I could laugh through the tears, and smile… thought my heart was breaking. It was there because it was not of me, it was of God.
We have a time of celebration coming soon, a few weeks away when we remember the joy that came to this world in the form of a baby… God’s Son coming to earth for us and the angels rejoiced.
My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will find the joy that the Holy Spirit brings, despite the busyness of your life. May this joy be given to you in abundance and in full measure. Filled to the brim and running over, even in the presence of the enemy. Psalm 23:5
I know that their are many people where Christmas time is a time of loneliness and not joy. Joy does not come from others, it comes from within. I pray that God would bless you with the opportunity to bring joy to others as you reach out of that loneliness to find the needs of others.
I pray that for those suffering heartache and troubles that you will find joy amidst your grief and pain. That God’s presence would bring its own joy to your heart.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.
Message from Ruth –
Hi everyone, over the next two months there will only be one column/blog per week. I need to get some things done around the house and spend time with my children.
May God bless you and keep you as you celebrate God’s gift to you – Jesus Christ.
For those of you that have no one to celebrate this special time with, take time to remember that God is with us (Immanuel). He is with you …no matter what you may feel. May God hold you in His hands. Our God is an awesome God.