This week has been very busy. I cannot say that I’ve been continually joyful. I have, though, been reflecting on joy a lot this week and realized that joy is not automatic, nor is it something we muster up from inside us. Joy is an outward expression, and we express it when the opportunity meets us, that is if our hearts are open to recognize and embrace it.
Take the story of the shepherds in Luke 2:8-20. They receive the message from a band of angels that Messiah has been born in Bethlehem. They hurry off to investigate and discover that it is true. It’s at that point that they are full of joy and proclaim Jesus’ birth to anyone who will listen to them.
The shepherds did not have to respond the way they did. They could have taken one look at Jesus lying in the manger and said that there is no way the promised king from David’s family would come into the world like that. But, in that moment they chose to believe that hope of Messiah would be fulfilled through the life of that baby.
Joy is the recognition, embrace, and reveling in the moment when faith, hope, and love converge and intersect our lives. It may not seem that grandiose, but even in the simple things we can receive a gift of love, the stirring of faith, and the realization of hope, which can only be expressed outwardly with joy.
May our hearts be open to the opportunities to find joy, especially in this most joyous of times, Christmas!
Grace and peace,