Joy to the World, and you!

Are you happy?
In any given moment, I suspect you would say, “Yeah, sure. I’m happy.” You might be thinking about something special that makes you smile. Perhaps you think of an upcoming not-happy event and caveat your answer silently, “right now.” Did you have to force yourself to sing, “Joy to the World?”
Happiness is discovered in moments and is a fleeting emotion. It is part of the big 4: glad, sad, mad, and afraid. There are many ways to define each of those emotions. If you have kids, it is likely that you have asked them to use words to describe how they feel. Maybe you have a visual chart on the refrigerator. I doubt you ask them to use a variety of words when they are happy. Try it.

Ecstatic, pleased, content, celebrating, enthused—these are a few of the ways we can describe “happiness.”  “Joy,” is not included in my list. For the six weeks of Advent and Christmas we have been asking, “How does a weary world rejoice?” I want to ask you a new question.

Are you full of joy?
Joy is a way of life. In a world where happiness is relegated to momentary flashes of relief that break up the monotony of mediocre maladies or monumental maelstroms, joy is about character and perspective. Joy permeates all our emotions. Joy builds up our resilience in the face of fleeting happiness and the continual barrage of wearying experiences, near and far. Joy is a sustaining stance that dares to dream and craves to create something better.
Our ministry colleagues at A Sanctified Art defined rejoicing as six postures or skills that help us develop the character of a joyful life:
Acknowledging weariness                 Being connected to one another
Allowing for amazement                   Remembering our stories of hope
Making room for…                             Rooting ourselves in rituals    

Plus, this week, the final piece, the seventh posture and skill, is trusting in our belovedness. In death, in life, in good times and difficulties, through successes and struggles, nor anything else in all creation, trust the truth that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, in the image of God, who loves you. This truth, seeping into the very core of your being, insists that you are made to rejoice in the Lord always simply because you are, and you are loved
Joy to the world–and to you!
Images: from A Sanctified Art;
Beloved, by Lauren Wright Pittman, Inspired by Luke 3:21-22, @sanctifiedart (c) used by permission/license