She asked me when the season of joy was supposed to end
& I said I didn’t really think there was an exact date,
so we left the tree up till June that year. – Storypeople
This question has followed me the last 2 days:
What is joy?
Not a new question or unexamined topic; just one that is season-appropriate.
It is interesting, this enigmatic thing called Joy – and the ways in which it shows itself.
I have seen people enjoying the best of material riches & apparel, yet have little light in their eyes. On the contrary, some folks who are living in what we would consider ‘poverty’, draped in rags – they walk around and extend kindness & charity to others like royalty.
I have known the blessings of success & triumph, and celebrated with others in theirs. Yet the most real experiences of joy don’t seem to come then… some of the deepest joys are most complete in failures, disappointments and trials. The darker the night, the brighter the light?
Popularity & fame don’t quite answer the question either. Both are fleeting. And too often I hear, “Yah, I’m surrounded by people… but I’m lonely. I don’t know why…” On the other hand, some of the most joyful people I’ve met are also the most hidden and unknown.
Health seems to be no guarantee too. I know people in the pink of health but sick in their hearts. It turns out, some of the terribly ill laugh more often, seize the moments more passionately and smile more appreciatively at the smallest graces.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think it’s bad to enjoy things like material wealth, success, being well-loved and good health… to take pleasure in them when we have them. No. God is after all, the original Giver of all good things.
But we all do well to ask: Is that where our ‘joy’ is rooted?
… in circumstances, or in spite of and above them?
I have a joy whose source is not of this world. A source that, unlike the things of this world which are transient and fickle, is eternal, faithful and true. Thus rooted, I have a joy that doesn’t change with earthly temperaments, or with my own times of faithlessness & weakness. Such a joy keeps propelling me forward with hopefulness and certainty:
Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” – Rev 21:3-5
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. – Isa 9:7
Joy – a lesser enigma with each passing day 🙂
Jesus, Joy of the Highest Heaven