When I was growing up, Joy was a word frequently heard. My parents had two or three friends named Joy. I went to see the movie Jaws at the Joy movie theater on Canal Street in New Orleans. Feelings of joy and merriment always accompanied the holidays (and people said so).
Today though, joy seems to have been dropped out of our language and often seems absent of our experiences. When was the last time you heard someone say they were full of joy? Or when was the last time you heard someone say, “The joy of my life is…” (fill in the blank). I think we have lost a sense of joy to a large degree.
The general exception to this is children. If you watch or listen to children play, you will hear laughter (seldom at someone else’s expense), screams (in fun rather than horror), and boys and girls talking a mile a minute as they tell each other what they have learned. And they don’t feel they need to win the lottery, get the best grade, or have the nicest job/house/clothes/car to experience that joy. They don’t even need the most popular friends or the best toy to experience that joy. They are simply and frequently joyous.
My question is whether we feel God only means this sense of joy for us when we are young. Most would say, “Oh absolutely not.” And yet, do you experience many joyous adults? Some would say they are joyous when the [insert favorite sports team here] win or they find a sale or they finish a distasteful task but I wonder if we sometimes even remember what joyous means.
There are challenges out there aplenty. Children are often unaware of the dragons that lurk in our society and our world. Nevertheless, I do think God wants us to enjoy this life and experience a little foretaste of what we will experience in heaven.
What fills you with joy? What is the difference between joy and happiness to you?
Thoughts on a Monday,