In the very near future Christmas songs will be filling the airwaves in the same way holiday decor has hit the retail aisles (why so early?!) In the malls, on the radio, at school recitals, through churches across the globe, songs about peace and hope will be sung. Peace, hope and JOY.
It seems we could all use a nice jolt of each right about now.
Yesterday, one of the kid’s schools was so nice to host a morning coffee for moms – a gathering to get to know each other better and to contemplate life. To remind us all that we’re in it together, never alone, loved. The morning’s topic was joy. Which when I first heard about it, I kind of thought sure, joy – a holiday staple. But as I began to get beyond stereotypes (we even do that with words and concepts – things that are familiar to us get brushed aside or shelved since we think we already know), I was surprised by joy.
Joy is a forever topic that just happens to get center-stage spotlight at Christmas. And, with its place holder set for the holidays, it can be easy to lose sight of how deeply it is ingrained in life, freedom, grace and peace for today – every day.
So we considered joy – starting with Joy to the World, the song known across the globe. We consider the words themselves, apart from the tune – slowly, lingering, allowing them to communicate the truth that invites joy to thrive.
Joy to the world. The Lord is come. The Savior reigns! He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the light of His righteousness and wonders of His love
We talked about the gift of joy given to the world – a gift that spans the boundaries of time revealed by the idea “is come.” I love that “is come” – not has, did, or will, but “is” as in now, then & forever – lingers with the fragrance of hope. We talked about “reigns” as it reveals God’s dominion and authority which can both sound heavy or authoritarian until you land on “the wonders of His love” repeated, repeated, and repeated amidst the “light of His righteousness.” And we considered attributes of and keys to Joy.
Joy, that originates from the Latin word gaudēre: to rejoice:
- points to a concept beyond happiness. In fact happiness is often used to describe joy – as does delight and bliss.
- is apart from circumstance.
- is tethered to faith,
- anchored in hope,
- experienced through trust
In Not the Boss of Us, I share some stories from people who grappled with the meaning of and embraced joy in the midst of challenging circumstances. I’ve witnessed friends who are at the epicenter of suffering find joy the same way. For example, Kyle Ogle, a friend of my brother’s, shared about joy while living out his cancer diagnosis:
God never promised me an easy life or great wealth, just an abundant life.
Things have been excruciatingly hard at times, but we have lived. It hasn’t been the kind of every day monotonous do it all again the next day kind of living. We have experienced more love, more joy, more kindness, and more miracles than most people see in 100 years of living. But the greatest promise he gave was that when this life is over, there is more to come. Out with the abundant life and in with the eternal. The story will not end here. In fact, it will not end, ever.
Joy in the midst. Anchored in HOPE. Joy to the World
Why not practice joy today? Try it out, kick the wheels, hop in and experience/enjoy the ride – navigated by the One in whom joy – genuine, solid, deep, unending joy – resides. Get a taste today so that when the holiday crazies start to invade Peace and Joy can stay center stage. I think its only then that we can sink into the “wonders of his love” – for others, … and maybe a few kind and gentle words for ourselves.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
If you’re of for walking it together in person – here’s a super fun Pop-Up party, of sorts (as in last minute, because why not grab hold of a terrific opportunity to hear Susie Larson live since she’s going to be in Dallas and Rebecca Carrell in person rather than only on the radio every morning) hosted by our SaySomething Show team: