DECEMBER 21: The real face(s) of joy
If joy isn’t about having what you want, but having who you need most, then it frees us from thinking joy is a state of dancing, laughing and skipping.
Don’t think of “joy“ today as an ear-to-ear grin.
To have the joy of “Emmanuel“ (“God-With-Us-No-Matter-What-If-We-Will-Trust-Him“) won’t mean that if you have the flu, Jesus will make you dance. Joy won’t mean if you’re burning the candle at both ends and in the middle, Jesus will make it all feel like a deep-tissue massage. Joy doesn’t mean that if you feel alone, Jesus will surround you with imaginary friends.
Joy isn’t powerful because it chases the blues away.
The great Christmas song, “Joy To the World“ has a helpful closing stanza. It sings that He comes to make the good stuff known...
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found.*
However far or deep or dark the curses of life take us, joy is there waiting for us.
What can you do with that today? You can be realistic.
You have something to be thankful for today. It might not be your wildest dreams, but God is showing you His love for you in ways you didn’t earn.
You might have something to grieve today. Be fearless in your grief. Grieve that you aren’t where you want to be, you don’t have what you want to have or you don’t have the person you want to have with you.
Be honest with a God who isn’t exhausted by your pain, but right in the middle of it and walking with you until the day you see why.
The voice of joy is whispering, “Some things will be lost, but all is not lost.”
Sometimes, joy will look like dancing and laughing and skipping.
Sometimes, joy will look like tears or gritted teeth or nerves.
PRAYER FOR TODAY
“JoyGiver, cause me to lament with you today if I need to lament. Cause me to rejoice with you if there’s obvious reasons to rejoice. Cause me to feel devastated with you if I need to feel shattered. Cause me to be realistic because, though it might be more than I can handle, it helps me remember I’ll never have to handle anything without You again.”
*"Joy to the World", Isaac Watts. First published in "The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and worship", 1719