WHAT IS JOY?
Sunday, December 11th
(Each day this week, we will be focusing on the difference Joy makes in our lives.)
If you have an Advent wreath, you may light the Hope, Peace, and Joy candles.
Our next gift, Advent Joy, also makes a beautiful difference in our lives. Let’s again look at three definitions of Joy as we begin our week. The definition of Joy includes:
~ the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires
We think of this joy as the exuberant reaction to good news, such as the arrival of a new grandchild, a call from an old friend, the achievement of a longtime goal, the sharing of a special celebration. One Christmas, our children gave us a digital photo frame, and each time we receive a new photo of our family or fun times, we have joy from the delightful memory that has been sent our way.
~ delight; a state of happiness or felicity; bliss
We also experience joy as a countenance or general way of being, the joie de vivre, the exuberant enjoyment of life. I have noticed more of this joy in the years since my cancer, as I hold more gratitude and appreciation for the delights of each day.
~ a source or cause of delight
Here again, the word joy can also be the origin or source of our joy. Our Advent Joy comes from God in Christ – Jesus is our source of Joy!
Through the joyful surprise of Jesus’s birth, the joyful countenance of life with Christ, and the gift of joy given to us through his Spirit, we have many reasons for Advent Joy. As we continue Mary’s story, we see the Joy she also received…
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:39-45 NRSVUE)
We cling to Hope, let go for Peace, and this time we jump for Joy!
By the joyful leap of her baby within, Elizabeth recognized that Mary was carrying God’s son. We can imagine the ripple effect of this joy – the baby leaps with joyful delight, Elizabeth is joyfully surprised, and Mary becomes joyfully relieved because someone else recognizes and affirms her holy pregnancy.
This story is ours, too.
Like Mary, we have our Advent Joy through the surprising love of God in the birth of Jesus. Like Elizabeth’s baby (who is the baptizer John), we receive Joy through the movement of the Spirit. In times of uncertainty, we find Joy in the companionship of other faithful friends, as did Mary and Elizabeth. Advent Joy can come to us at all times of the year. Our legs may no longer be able to jump for joy, but our spirits surely can!
We see in Mary’s story that Joy is also meant to be shared. How might we extend Joy to others today? We can share the assurance of God’s love for someone. We can recognize and affirm another as sacred and special. We can delight someone with a small kindness. We can talk about our reasons for Joy. We can invite the Spirit to reveal the sweet and holy joys that are meant for us – and intended for others, too.
We can contribute to Joy’s ripple effect this Advent season.
Advent Joy makes the better difference in our lives.
Photo by Rebecca Peterson-Hall on Unsplash
Bible passage taken from https://www.biblegateway.com/
Definition from https://www.merriam-webster.com/
Pingback: (Re-Blogging) Simply Soul Searching by Karen – HOPE SEEKER