Christmas is probably a distant memory for most of us now but it is good to be reminded of the core message that it brought - one of "good news of great joy for all the people" (Luke 2:10) because of the arrival of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. The One who would bring salvation and make forgiveness possible, restoring our relationship with God and making the world right again.
Joy is a major theme not only of the Gospel of Luke but of the entire biblical narrative.
- The Psalmists regularly call out for rejoicing, singing, and gladness of heart (Psalm 16:11; 32:11; 68:3; 110:1; 149:2, 5).
- The prophets predict everlasting joy for God's people, with gladness and joy overtaking them, and sorrow and sighing fleeing away (Isaiah 51:11).
- Even God himself is portrayed as one who takes great delight in his people, rejoicing over them with singing (Zephaniah 3:14-17).
- Jesus told his followers, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (John 15:11)."
- The apostle Paul saw joy as a sign of the kingdom (Romans 14:17), as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and as something that we should experience every day (Philippians 4:4).
No wonder A.W. Tozer once said, "Joy is an infallible sign of the Lord's presence."
Of course, joy is different than happiness. Happiness is based on circumstances - what ‘happens’ to us. Joy is independent on any external conditions.
God wants us to experience an abundant life characterised by an inner joy and peace despite our circumstances.
How's your joy today?
Next: Joy Robbers
See also Laughter is Good Medicine