December 16, 2021 Cindy Goding

Joy

Joy

By Allison Paala


Joy. It seems like such a simple thing to write about in the Christmas season. When Cindy asked me to blog about it, immediately I said, “Yes!” 


I figured I would spend 30 minutes at the computer and be done. No problem. I would write about the joy I feel when I look at my kids, my husband. I would say what joy we should all feel this time of year knowing that God sent his son as a baby for us. Boom! Done. 


Well, God had other plans for this blog. After spending time in prayer about how to go about this I really started to ponder the true meaning of the word “joy.” I have always thought of joy as being more of a surface emotion; Something you feel temporarily which is quite fleeting. A feeling you get for a brief moment when your child says, “I love you.” or when you spend time with an old friend. A sign you hang on your door at Christmastime. 


I also thought about how difficult it can be to feel joy this time of year. For me, this year will be the second Christmas without my dad. For many others this will be a time when reminders of loss will be weighing on their hearts. Others are going through sickness, marital problems, job loss, etc.  Besides all that, the stress of the season, with the planning, the shopping, the preparation, and the pressure to have it all together this time of year can just be overwhelming. So what then is the true joy that God wants us to feel despite all of this?


When I looked up the biblical definition of joy I found this: “Joy is a feeling of good pleasure and happiness that is dependent on who Jesus is rather than on who we are or what is happening around us. Joy comes from the Holy Spirit, abiding in God’s presence and from hope in His word.”


After reading this I remembered how often joy is mentioned in the Bible. Joy is mentioned over 100 times in the old testament alone with over 15 different Hebrew words.  One word that it comes from is simchah [sim-khaw'], which means joy, gladness, or mirth.  It comes from samach [saw-makh'], which means to rejoice. 


 If we feel joy over earthly things like a new house or hearing good news, then how much more joy should we feel all the time in knowing that Jesus Christ was sent for us, that God sent him here as a baby so that he could be a sacrifice in order to save us from our sin? Not only did Christ die for us, but he continues to seek a relationship with us and never leaves our side, no matter how much our circumstances change. Christ is unchanging, and what joy that brings us in this everchanging, unpredictable world we live in!


John 16:20- Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.


Matthew 2:10- When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy


John 15:10-12- If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.’”


On Sunday as Mark spoke of the Christmas story, and of the star, and the Magi, I tried to imagine what it would have felt like to live during that time. How incredible it would be to know that the Messiah who would save you had just been born. What true joy we would all feel! The joy that overcame God’s people when that star first appeared in the sky to leading them to baby Jesus is the same joy that we can have today. Because Jesus, the Messiah, our Savior IS born, and he LIVES! We are saved, redeemed, forgiven, and loved. JOY TO THE WORLD!