Oh, Joy!

How is your “Stress-O-Meter” reading this week? With Christmas just 10 days away, it may be reaching the critical levels on the gauge.

Considering our long lists of errands, holiday shopping, baking and wrapping, joy may be the last thing we are experiencing during the holiday season.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if simply flipping the calendar to December brought an abundance of joy into our homes? Or perhaps we could simply order a case of joy online. Then it would show up on our doorstep in a smiling cardboard box the next day. Better yet, subscribe and save so you will never run out again!

Where Joy Lives

I think we often confuse joy with happiness. Joy is a constant state of being, whereas happiness is haphazard and fleeting. Happiness often depends on someone, or some thing to make us happy. And when life fails to meet our expectations, happiness goes right out the window.

Happiness lives in the mind.

Joyfulness dwells in the heart.

Joy is a precious feeling that is carried through the highs and lows of daily living. It does not depend on outside influences to thrive or grow. It is an abiding and fulfilling joy, that unlike happiness, won’t be here today and gone tomorrow.

This time of year, I often think of the Christmas angel who appeared to the shepherds, watching their flocks.

“Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” – Luke‬ ‭2:10‬

The angel was sharing the Good News of the babe in the manger, the greatest joy ever known!

As we enter the final days of Christmas preparations, try not to become overwhelmed by that to-do list. Remember to capture the joy of the small, quiet moments each day, and treasure them in your heart.

 

Seeking Joy

I’ve had a very long day today, but I am determined to share my thoughts before turning in for the night.

Today, as Advent began, I found myself contemplating the need for joy in this world. This is especially true during the Christmas season when happiness and contentment seem to be short in supply.

Why is joy so elusive this time of year? Why are we so unhappy?

I think many of us feel battered about, and are constantly running a day behind long before the holiday season arrives. We become so preoccupied with making everyone around us happy, that we forget to look for joy ourselves!

Sometimes joy can be found in the most unusual places, and often when we are not expecting to find it at all . . .

When Jesus was born, an angel appeared and told the shepherds about the birth of a Savior. The shepherds had been tending their flocks, and keeping watch over their sheep at night. It had been a day like any other, and they certainly were not expecting this life-changing news.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:10-11‬

Jesus’ birth brought joy to all people . . . even lowly shepherds. And not just a little joy, but great joy! This was news to celebrate, so the shepherds hurried on their way to see this child for themselves.

We need this same joy today!

What if we each kept a “joy journal” this coming week, and wrote down all the ways — both large and small — that we experience joy? My guess is that we will be amazed with all the places we discover joy when we truly begin to seek it. And if we don’t find it, let’s create it for someone else!

Have a joy-filled week!