The Oxford dictionary defines joy as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness”. Many things in life can bring us great joy. Depending on each individual this may look different. I get joy when I sit down with a good cup of coffee, hear the laughter of my kids or the sound of crashing waves and sand between my toes, see a beautiful waterfall in the midst of the woods after a hike, and the list goes on. Each of these is a gift from God. (Matthew 7:11)
The two songs we will be diving into this week, almost written a century apart from each other, point to the greatest joy we will ever experience. The joy found in Jesus. The Messiah promised. The fulfillment of prophecy and promises long ago. The Savior of the world came, Jesus who ushered in a new covenant one filled with grace.
In the NIV, the word joy is used 218 different times. The Greek definition of joy is “chara” which means “joy, gladness, a source of joy, extend favor, lean towards, the awareness of God’s grace, joy because of grace.” This kind of joy is a lasting joy. One that does not come based on the right circumstances. It’s a joy we can obtain no matter what is happening in our lives. A joy that James calls us to “consider” regardless of what hardships lay before us. (James 1:2-4)
As we enter into this advent week of joy, I encourage you to let joy lead you by enjoying the good gifts He has given, glorifying Him in those places and embracing the great gift of grace through His Son, Jesus.
James 1:2-4, Nehemiah 8:10, Romans 15:13, Psalm 16:11
As we focus this Advent week on joy, start each day in prayer in the awareness of God’s grace, thanking Him for Jesus, and letting joy lead your days.
All hymns referenced throughout the series found in one spot. Some versions are traditional. Others…not so much. Enjoy!
One thought on “Rejoice and Be Glad”
A very dear friend of mine lost his 98 year old mom today. Last week he sent me this. I immediately thought about it while I was considering JOY. “One humorous thing you should know – Mom is a huge fan of The Old Testament. When the Hospice Chaplain visited, he and mom were throwing Old Testament verses at each other, almost reading each other’s mind and anticipating the next verse. I can’t recall when the last time I saw such a look of joy and peace on her face. It was truly something I’ll never forget.”