The term is almost synonymous with the celebration of Christmas. Several Carols are based on the theme. “Joy to the World,” “How Great our Joy,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’s” refrain, “Oh tidings of comfort and joy…,” or “O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant.” “Hark the Herald…Joyful all ye nations rise.”
It’s not surprising that many of our Christmas Carols reference “Joy.” It was the declaration of the angel to the Shepherds, “…behold I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Christmas puts a spotlight on joy. We seek it in our relationships with friends and family with parties and visits with loved ones, co-workers, with our business and social associates. During this time of year we like to engage in all kinds of fun activities and events that increase and sustain our joy. Almost everyone would agree that joy is a good thing, a desirable thing and a beneficial thing.
Our human DNA compels us toward joy if we are reasonably, mentally and emotionally healthy. Joy is a state of our human being that Jesus wants us to experience to the fullest extent possible.
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
“Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24
“And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” 1 John 1:4
Happiness and Joy are almost synonymous, but not exactly. All happiness is consistent with Joy, but all joy is not necessarily consistent with happiness. Happiness is fleeting and exclusively bound up in our feelings. But joy is deeper. It is an inward awareness of wellbeing no matter the outside forces that may mitigate against it at any given time. It’s not tied to the moment but reaches to the future with a hopeful expectation and acknowledgment of good things now and good things to come.
Grief and mourning suppresses joy for a time or a season but joy returns with the “morning.”
“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
Morning is a metaphor for gaining a fresh outlook, a renewed hope and a new perspective. Morning brings a fresh outlook. It’s a new day filled with awesome possibilities and great and precious promises.
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:2-4
In Christ our Lord, we live with a joyful expectation of what the morning brings for us. With childlike wonder and amazement as children rush to see the presents under the tree at Christmas time, God wants our joy in Him to flood us with expectation of all the good He has in store for us each day as in Him we live and move and have our being.
May your Christmas celebrations be filled with joy and the wonder of glad expectation of the Baby born in Bethlehem, the Savior of the world, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, our Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. And of His Kingdom and Government there shall be no end.
“And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:33
“Joy to the world the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing.”