December 9 - Joy
Columba of Iona said, “Joy is the echo of God’s life in us.” Christmas is special to us because it often creates opportunities for joy. Now, this is larger than just being happy. Happiness comes and goes but joy seems to appear sometimes out of nowhere. Happiness is almost a choice but joy seems thrust upon us. Happiness is personal and almost private. Joy has to be shared to be believed. Happiness is buying something you like, joy is someone loving you enough and knowing you enough to get you a present that is perfect. Happiness is usually safe. Joy is the emotional release when a risky or vulnerable action pays off.
There is one other important distinction between joy and happiness that becomes real in Christmas. Happiness does not usually involve sacrifice but joy almost necessitates it. If you look around at Christmas time to find true joy, you’ll discover that people have sacrificed to make joy happen. Whether it is preparation by a family member, collecting goods for those who are underserved, or God giving a son to the world, joy is found both by those who receive and those who give.
Joy cannot be contained. It must be shared and it must be felt. Whether someone discovers joy through your laugh, your smile, or your “Merry Christmas!” this year, we hope you’ll experience the joy God knows in sharing the Christ-child with us.