“Joy to the world! the Lord has come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing.”
If you’re like me, there are probably days when you drag your butt out of bed, reach for your coffee, and review your ‘to-do’ list. Some days I don’t feel happy first thing in the morning. But superficial happiness and deeper, inner joy are two very different feelings.
The joy that Jesus brings can sustain us during times of deep grief or hardship. Even when we don’t feel ‘happy’, we can still experience the joy of knowing God.“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” Psalm 30:5b ESV God has given us a joy that no one can take away.
The Oxford dictionary definition of joy is, “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Happiness is often connected to our external circumstances.
But true joy, in its fuller, spiritual level, involves more. It is a deep-rooted, inspired happiness that isn’t dependent on our external circumstances but comes from deep within our souls through our spiritual connection to God. That joy comes from him alone. Depending on the translation, joy appears more than 100 times in the Bible.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
At Christmas, after the angel appeared to the shepherds, announcing the birth of Jesus, they went in search of the Messiah. “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” Matthew 2:10 NIV The shepherds experienced this joy as they ran to Bethlehem to see Jesus. When they found Mary with the baby, she shared their joy. “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 ESV.
The birth of Jesus represents the joy of the fulfillment of hundreds of years of the prophecy of a messiah that would save God's chosen people, reuniting them in a relationship with God. “Rejoice for indeed the Lord is near” Philippians 4:4-5
As believers, we can share in the joy of salvation and experience internal, spiritual joy every day despite our external circumstances. We can experience light in a dark world. As we spend more time with God in reading scripture and prayer, we will deepen our relationship and enjoy greater joy.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22 NIV
Embrace the joy of the season. The joy of knowing there is a God who loves you. A God who loves you enough to send his son to repair the relationship between you and him.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11 ESV.)
What does joy look like to you?
As we reflect on Joy this week, ask God to fill you with his supernatural joy that will overflow to others as you walk through each day with true, lasting joy in your heart!
Note: Join me as we continue our reflections on the advent season, Joy is the symbolic theme of this third week.
Two weeks ago I gave an overview of the history and meaning of advent in our preparation for the Christmas season, the traditional use of the wreath and candles lit each week leading up to Christmas Day.
A time of reflection and rest in a season notoriously wrought with excess, materialism, busyness, and exhaustion.
Week One we reflected on Hope (https://www.kathleenknappwriter.com/post/the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year-reflections-of-hope-advent-week-one)
Last week we reflected on week two of Peace (https://www.kathleenknappwriter.com/post/the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year-reflections-of-peace-advent-week-two)