“Joy to the world; the Lord is come…”
My friend and co-worker, Kathy, has the most fabulous last name: “Joy.” I must admit that I am rather envious; it has such a happy sound—“Mrs. Joy”…about as happy a sound as “Mrs. Claus” or “Mrs. Elf.” On the down side, Kathy knows that when Christmas and her birthday roll around, she is about 98% certain to receive Joy gifts! She has a Joy mug, a Joy pillow, a Joy banner for her front door, a Joy stocking holder, and all types of decor to sit on her desk with that word. (This Christmas I may give her something that says “Peace”). Kathy says the name doesn’t always accurately reflect her mood…but that it does perfectly suit her husband. She thinks he has the most wonderful, constant, positive, joyful attitude. And when you stop to think about it, joy is really more an attitude than an expression. We tend to associate joy with someone always smiling, happy, and bubbling over with enthusiasm. But scripture tells us in James 1:2 to “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (NIV) This Christmas, Kathy and I face a similar trial: a disease called Alzheimer’s is slowing robbing the minds of both our mothers—the mothers we once had are not the mothers we now have. Although Kathy and I are not bubbling over with enthusiasm about this journey we are taking, we can still have joy. How? By remembering that joy is not a feeling, but simply “contentment in circumstances”. The contentment can only come by knowing and believing that:
- God is totally in control
- God knows our circumstances
- God knows what He is doing
- God is always with us
- God will help us
A long, long time ago, God decided to send us a sign that would help us know and remember that He is the ultimate JOY. He sent His Son to be born as an earthly baby…..to grow up and dwell on earth. In Luke 2:10 an angel appeared to shepherds in the fields to announce the birth of Christ, and said “do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (NIV)
I asked my co-workers “When I say ‘joys of Christmas’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?” Here are their answers…
- Christmas music
- aromas (evergreens, cookies baking)
- a more caring spirit
- wonder and delight in a child’s eyes
Whatever your circumstances this Christmas, I pray that you will have JOY—that deep, fulfilling contentment that only the Bethlehem Christ-child can provide. Merry Christmas!!
(c) 2012 Leslie Kelley. All rights reserved.
Joy/Dove Mosaic Banner Photo (c) Rachel Rodi