I love the word joy. It just has such a wonderful image. What I love about it is that it represents peace that transcends circumstance. It is being able to say, "I am okay even in the midst of trouble. I know that my present circumstance will not be forever and even if it is, there are things that I can learn and change and do about it." It is viewing our situations and problems as opportunities.
I have heard various people talk about happiness and joy lately. Totally unrelated conversations which makes me think that this is a topic in which I need assistance. In each of those discussions the conclusion has been that joy and happiness are different. Happiness is dependent upon surroundings. The focus becomes on achieving and getting things and that those things will provide happiness. Isn't that the crux of the materialistic holidays? Or that happiness has to be a reaction to what has occurred. If the surroundings aren't quite good enough then one is unhappy. Life is miserable until something else happens that may provide a positive reaction. Then we feel "happy".
I think of joy as the serene, gracious wiser sibling. The one who seems to be unruffled and steady during difficulties. The one who remains calm, speaks in a pleasant tone and doesn't fly off the handle. The one who is unfazed if things don't go his way. The one who is content whether he has much or he has little. The one who is confident in all circumstances.
I think of the past to the many times when I didn't exemplify poise in a situation. Times when I certainly wasn't full of joy. Times when I let my unhappiness because "things didn't workout the way I wanted" spill out in my speech. Times when I railed against the "injustice" or aka "not getting the things I wanted" of my life. How ridiculous. How unattractive. How childish.
Joy comes from contentment. Joy comes from hope. Joy comes from God.
The world is is need of joy this season. I am in need of joy this season. What about you? Can you replace happiness with joy this season? This coming year?