Monday, November 27, 2017
To me, the word “joy” is difficult for anyone to rightfully define. From what I have seen in my research of the meaning, it seems that even dictionaries have a hard time with it. Even so, it may be the first word that comes to mind in the hearts of many of God’s children during the Christmas season. I believe that if they were asked to fill in this blank: Christmas ---------- , the word most chosen would be “joy.” After all, even those who are not regular church folks are familiar with Luke 2:10-11, which reads: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Going back to the word’s definition, I think “joy” is in a higher plane than “happiness. To me it is more a state or condition than a mere emotion which may disappear in an instant. When I read Hebrews 11:2, it implies that “joy” is the feeling of happiness and excitement one gets when looking forward to the fulfillment of a desired goal. It reads: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Did you get that? Some have wondered what was on Jesus’ mind when He went to the cross. This verse implies that His heart was filled with joy at the thought of what would transpire after having completed His mission. He was thinking of the coming joy of setting captives free, of their victory over death and sin because of His sacrifice, of sharing eternity with all those who trusted in Him, of having fulfilled His Father’s will and finally, of being the greatest gift the world would ever know. Is not your heart filled with joy when you do something that obviously helps others or puts a smile on their face?
May we never forget that from the day that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was the Father’s will that joy would be a permanent part of our every day lives. Many of you may be going through a difficult trial even as you are reading these words. If that is the case, Hebrews 12:2 reminds us to think of the joy that was in Jesus’ heart even on the day of His encounter with the cross. If joy filled His heart in spite of it, we can do the same. Remember, joy is the state of our hearts and minds when we think of what is up ahead for us. In fact, it is pure joy. May it fill our hearts this Christmas and every day thereafter.
God’s word for today (Psalm 32:11) : “Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!”