“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10-11)
“Joy to the world, the Lord has come”. What do you think… is it the best known Christmas song out there (Silent Night and Angels We Have Heard on High would be right up there)? The strange thing is this—we sing about joy to the world, and yet most folks struggle to even define what joy is.
We know it isn’t the same as “happy”, because happy usually depends on our circumstances. If the weather is awful, if I am sick, if my kids are going bonkers, etc…….. I’m not usually happy. Turn it around: if it is a beautiful day, if my team won a game, if someone in my small group took a huge step of faith…..that stuff makes me “happy”. But joy is different, it is deeper. James says we can “count it all joy when we encounter trials of many kinds” (1:2). But let’s be honest, it is really hard to say “be happy” in the midst of life-crushing trials.
So what is “joy”? It seems to be the flip side of the coin with hope. If hope means we are certain of how the future is going to work out, then joy is that deep seated (somewhere in the soul/heart) response to hope. John Piper says it well,
Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.
When the Magi saw the star in the sky, they had great joy, because they knew that the star was pointing to the King of the World and His arrival. The beauty of Christ and His gospel had come, and that was a reason for great joy. No matter what the circumstances may be, the reality that Jesus has come, and we are secure in Him, should bring a great smile (joy) to our souls.
So this Advent season, “ponder anew what the Almighty can do”, and let that put a very deep seated JOY in your soul.
SCRIPTURES ABOUT JOY
Psalm 119:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:1-18; Hebrews 12:1-2
Take the season of Advent with you by listening to our Advent playlist on Spotify.