Week 4: Joy

Merriam-Webster defines “joy” as, “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.”

The worldly definition of joy seems to attribute the emotion to a fleeting experience or possession, or perhaps something we create for ourselves.

words + pictures ALLISON ADLER

My favorite description of joy comes from James, one of the authors of the Bible. He writes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” (James 1:2-4).

It seems so easy for most to have joy during the Christmas season. It’s a time to gather with friends and family and celebrate. The world becomes magical with twinkling lights and beautifully wrapped, heartfelt gifts. People are more apt to give generously with their time, talents, and finances. Kindness becomes tangible. Then Dec. 26 arrives. Quickly, it seems everything and everyone goes back to normal, everyday, routine. The magic is gone. Where is the joy?

I implore you to find the joy of the Lord during this season of Advent. Carry it with you throughout the entire year. Share your joy. Share Jesus.

During Advent, we anticipate the birth of Jesus, reflecting on each event leading up to His birth, aligning our hearts with God’s, imagining what Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and wise men may have felt or thought upon seeing the Savior of the world. We celebrate the long-awaited arrival of Jesus, the only One who can save us.

I do not believe joy in the dictionary is the same joy God intended us to experience. God created us to have joy during exciting moments of life, yes, but also in the moments best described by James: Moments of working long days only to see a list of overdue deadlines. Or, moments of loading yet another pile of dirty, stinky laundry only to feel as though we’ve done nothing but change dirty, stinky diapers all day. God intended for even these moments to bring about a joy within us that fills our hearts and pours out freely unto others, a joy that can coincide with sadness, grief, stress, anxiety, or the mundane.

That joy saves souls.

That joy is a gift only the Lord can give.

That joy must be shared by you and me.

I implore you to find the joy of the Lord during this season of Advent. Carry it with you throughout the entire year. Share your joy. Share Jesus. AA

Allison Adler is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, and physical therapist. Her greatest task is spreading the joy she has in Christ Jesus, her Savior. 

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