Advent Week 3
Joy makes my head scramble. It is week 3 of advent, day 3 of focusing on joy. Joy seems so big and also daunting as questions circle; Am I joyful? Where do I see joy? How can I tell people to focus on joy in the midst of health issues/finals/ divorce/uncertainty/war/scandals/death/lies…STOP….Insert screeching halt sound here or maybe old school vinyl record pull back stop 😬. Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. (Yes, you may sing that line .)
We need a word study.
the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation:
For me JOY would then be ocean waves, skis on snow, sunshine, puppy kisses, babies after bath time, girl friend laughter, spouse encouragement, warm homemade bread, lemons and my children smiling or enjoying anything, a good meal with my people, hope & peace.
These things are all good. Each are a gift from God. I feel good. I feel joyful after creating that list but in this life THIS joy is not enough, there is more. The joy that advent wants us to focus on goes deeper and eternal.
The Bible Project explains Biblical joy as “ an attitude God’s people adopts not because of our circumstances but because of our hope in God’s love and promise. “
The Bible teaches us of this joy in the wilderness. it is a joy with hope. God proves himself faithful over and over in our lives and in the stories of others. When we are in the wildness of the hard things in this life we must hold on to that hope and know that the story is not finished yet. God’s promises are true which means He will work all things for good for those that know and love Him. God is for us and not against us. His plan for us is good. God provides and is with us everywhere we go.
My favorite explanation of joy came in the form of a 5 min sermon by theologian John Piper. He explains joy as “a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.”
Now that we know what joy is, I can answer the question and my scrambling mind and settle.
Am I joyful? Yes but I do forget that it is a feeling but also a choice.
Where do I see joy? *see my list above AND in the Bible/Word of God because it gives me hope in the dark places of life. It gives testimony of those who have gone before me , trusted in God and He was faithful to them.
How can I tell people to focus on joy in the midst of …(insert your stresses here)? Because my life is proof that God is good and is faithful to those that know and love him. Because joy is a bundle of good feelings and also a choice. We must choose to live in hope and gratitude.
Interesting how gratitude just snuck in there. Gratitude and joy are besties! I read my Joy List again. The JOY in each of these things comes from the GRATITUDE I have. Oh, God is good!
So How do I get/keep/choose Joy? Stay grateful, make your joy list and repeat & add to those items, remember everything on your Joy list is a gift from God so that you may know Him, stay in prayer and the Word which is hope+peace= Joy
Joy & Peace to you & yours,
Hey friends in the valley right now..
I have an Insiders tip when you’re in the dark valley—seek 1 thing to be joyful about each day, even if it is a tiny small thing and a 5 word prayer, “God I need you.Amen”. You’ll be amazed what it can do!