What do you think of when you hear the word “joy”? Perhaps this Christmas present reveal from 1998. Or this cartoon.
But to me, the word “joy” almost instantly triggers a few Christmas songs: Joy To The World, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (“tidings of comfort and joy”), and Angels We Have Heard On High (“joyous strains”). So what is joy and how is it different from happiness?
I believe the difference can be summed up by the N64 kid above. Whereas your average child may have been happy to receive an N64 console, this particular child was filled with much joy! Joy by definition is a feeling of great or extreme happiness. And if happiness is a reflexive emotion, then I’d like to think that joy is our choice to take the next step and have a happiness that much greater. The birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Christmas justifies this kind of joy – we then make a choice to be joyful and, in response, we rejoice (to feel or show great joy)!
So when we hear “tidings of comfort and joy”, it’s the news of comfort, peace, and joy in the birth of Jesus. Our reaction and reflex then is made up of “joyous strains”, joyful songs of praise!
We may be glad to receive certain presents this year and that feeling may even last a while. But nothing gives everlasting joy like Jesus Christ – the whole reason for this time of year! In this third week of Advent, think about how Jesus brings you joy and in what way you can rejoice in His birth in these final 10 days.
Reflection Song: Only You