One of my favorite Bible passages is Philippians 4:4-5, and I particularly like the New Century Version: "Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy. Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon."
But when we take our eyes off Jesus, our joy can easily come and go, can't it? Joy is not guaranteed just because we are Christians. The death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a deception by a person we thought to be a good friend can send us into a tailspin. But if we turn to scripture and prayer, especially praying God's word back to Him, we can refocus our minds and hearts back to that special joy in the Lord.
Dictionary.com states that joy is "the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying." Yes, our joy in the Lord is that, but it doesn't entirely define our joy, does it? In order to find joy, we need direction for our lives. I think Psalm 16:11states that principle well: "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."
On a visit to Colorado last Christmas to visit family, the pastor at their church said this: "Joy is trust, contentment and peace rooted in a nurtured relationship with God." May you find that joy this Christmas, and keep it all year long!
Grassland Community UMC
Kentucky East District