“Joy to the world!”
Asking someone if they have joy now-a-days is basically obsolete. There can be far more information gleaned by asking someone what they think joy means. I could be wrong… but I think most people would equivocate joy to happiness, feelings of elation, or heightened bliss. The key word in this is feelings. If joy is simply some sort of feeling, then it comes and goes… and can’t always be trusted. I’m not so sure we would just wish a very temporary, fleeting, innocuous feeling to the world? Just seems like a bit of overkill doesn’t it? But what if joy was something more….?
Let’s check Miriam Webster, once again!
Definition of joy
So we have presented to us an emotion, state, and source. But which one does this season capture? I believe the intended definition for joy during the holidays is more akin to the state. Emotions are more fleeting and often catch us off guard. We have far less in-the-moment control over our feelings… but our state can be chosen. We can feel sad/angry/annoyed/awkward/nervous/discouraged/etc and still have joy! There is nothing wrong with feeling the aforementioned emotions, but you can choose to not wallow in them and shift your focus to something that you can rest in, take delight in, cherish, and enjoy. That doesn’t mean those initial feelings are gone, but there can be joy in the midst of it.
Doesn’t that sound beautiful? For the world to be filled with a state of mind that is delightful and not dependent on circumstances? For people to cease being in a state of depression, anxiety, defeat, etc… For some in this troubled world, joy would seem much harder to secure. But there are many in the midst of grave danger, oppression, slavery, poverty, and hate that still choose joy! This is not to tell you to compare yourself to other people and elicit feelings of guilt. I share this to prove the point that joy is possible and joy is a choice. Joy is not some happenstantial feeling, but instead obtainable at all times. You simply need to find something worthy of eliciting such a state. This something must be unshakable, unfailing, and true. A firm foundation to set your life upon, so that joy is ever able to be with you.
Biblical perspective below…
If you are a Christian and you closely read everything above… then I am hoping that JESUS came to mind!! He is the cornerstone, the unchanging, the faithful, the all-powerful, the unfailing, the eternal One! We can always have joy because of our eternal status and relationship with Christ. Before we moved, the man and I attended Harvest and James MacDonald’s definition of joy sticks with me like glue! Joy is a supernatural delight in the person, purposes, and people of God. BOOM. Joy is no human, fleeting emotion… it is a supernatural gift from the LORD! We sing about joy to the WORLD because it was no longer only Israel that were God’s people, but he opened up a new covenant for all of us to know Him and to have access to Him every moment! God would no longer be accessed by priests and occasionally send out the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit would now be able to dwell within us and allow all of us to commune with God! Joy was finally accessible to the whole world through Jesus by trusting Him and His life, death, and resurrection as the only way to God. You can choose joy in every moment because of this!
How often do you possess joy? What areas of your life do you need to be intentional in seeking out joy? It is available, but you must be intentional to pursue it!