A source or cause of delight –Merriam-Webster
Joy differs from happiness in that it is an emotion. -Wikipedia
Is there greater delight than the wonder of Santa, or the glee witnessed as a child unwraps the present they wished for? Can there be a sweeter tear than the touch of a Christmas memory?
Set a part from the fleeting feeling of happiness, joy defines what Jesus came to give. It’s constancy flows through the entirety of our days, and allows us to laugh our way back to right. Joy is accepting who we are in confidence that we are cared for.
Acceptance & The ‘Damn’ Centers
Joy is the acceptance for who we are by the One who made us.
“Sarah said, ‘God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.'” Genesis 21:6
She was ninety …of course she laughed at the thought of giving birth. (Genesis 18) Yet as God promised, she and her 100-year old husband Abraham had a son named Isaac …which means “he laughs.”
We often place God far off in the distance or high in the sky. But one of the endearing qualities of the Lord is that He is funny. I believe, in reverence, that Biblical conversations reflect the humor of a God for whom nothing is impossible. How often are we able to make light of our circumstances? Life isn’t always funny, but it is overflowing with joy …if we choose to accept it.
My six-year-old daughter exudes joy. It’s hard to discipline her with a straight face. When I asked her one afternoon why she had to stay in for recess, she said:
“I had to finish my damn centers,” and rolled her eyes.
What else could I do but excuse myself to die of laughter? She’s six! #longroad It further confirmed the spitfire personality that I love, along with the list of reasons she’ll never be allowed to go on spring break…
“Lo” doesn’t fall in line or take adults too seriously. Her laugh is loud and ever-present. I may joke about her tendency to test the rules, but embrace the tender heart behind those twinkling blue eyes. My love for her allows me to witness the brightness of her light.
God is not surprised by us. He loves the complete creation, and we are made to journey in joy! His love doesn’t lessen when we fall down. In fact, He seeks to share a laugh with us and reveal joy in hard moments. He’s accepted us. That’s why Jesus was born.
Christmas is closeness with God.
Confidence …For the Birds
Joy is the attitude of gratitude.
In the North where I live, Christmastime signals every bird that can’t bear the winter’s cold to start flocking together. Millions of birds dance together in the sky, instinctively gathering and swooping and soaring until they’ve accumulated enough of a mass to drift as a dark “bird cloud” away with the warm air.
“…Look at them fly. It looks like God is taking pretty good care of them, doesn’t it? Remember that you are more precious to God than birds!” Luke 12:24
Birds are not even in my top 100 of favorite …or even likable creatures. Yet, over the years, I’ve come to admire the way they just know what to do.
“…God cares for every little sparrow …Since you are so much more precious to God than a thousand flocks of sparrows, and since God knows you in every detail—down to the number of hairs on your head at this moment—you can be secure and unafraid…” Luke 12:6-7
Birds don’t realize they are small or incapable. They operate confidently on carefully designed instinct.
“My little flock, don’t be afraid. God is your Father, and your Father’s great joy is to give you His kingdom.”Luke 12:32
Humans seek to be loved because deep within the design of our nature is a Creator who is love. Our confidence is found in Him, through Jesus.
He came into this world a small baby in a manger. His light caused others to flock to Him and follow Him, shifting and moving and gathering and cackling and spreading the Word. Long after Christ gave His human life on the cross, the birds continued to fly and stories of Jesus spread. His Word still flutters and gathers. Christian faith is moving and shifting. God’s not surprised. We all instinctively seek the joy of Jesus.
“He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations,
and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.” Luke 2:32 (The Voice)
Joy to the world, indeed. The greatest gift. #yulesee
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