As we near Christmas, one of the things that stands out to me about this season is joy. There are extensive amounts of joy seen in the eyes of children, the twinkling lights, Christmas carols, gathering with family and friends, the beautiful decorations, and baking sweet treats (just to name a few). While all of these things bring excitement and joy filled moments, the biggest joy of the season is celebrating the birth of Jesus and relishing in how mighty that little baby boy came to be.
Joy is defined by dictionary.com as, “the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.” Let’s see what the Bible’s definition is of joy: “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:8-9 (NLT). These verses are expressing that our gladness (joy) is not based on our circumstances. We don’t have to physically see Christ to have joy abound in us. By our faith, and not our circumstances, we trust the greatness of Christ and rejoice in Him.
Joy is something that is available to everyone! Just like in every area of life, we can choose to be joyful no matter what surrounds us. Joy is not indicative of our circumstances, but Christ is the correlation to our joy.
This week we’ll be looking at Becoming More Joyful. We’ll be specifically talking about being more joyful in tribulations and with others by following Christs’ example. Before we dive into this week, take out your journal or prayer book and write down the following prayer:
I come to you humbly after a hard year; a year where my circumstances may have not brought joy into my life. I thank you for walking alongside me and, at times, carrying me through the trenches of 2020. I often look to my circumstances and decide if I should be joyful or not. In reality I should be looking past my circumstances to the light that You offer. I know that my circumstances are fleeting, but my joy in You remains indefinitely. Please, open my heart to feel Your joy in all areas of my life, not just when things are going how I want. Open my eyes to see Your joy surrounding me in the beauty of everything You have created. In Jesus’ name, Amen.