What does joy mean? Advent Day 8

I can't be happy all the time, Mom. 

We're talking around the table this morning about Joy in this second week of Advent. What does it mean, I ask, to have joy or be joyful always as we are exhorted in Scripture? Why is Joy the word for us this week? What does it have to do with Advent? How is it related to Hope? 

So my son answers in his childlike way which I love because it's uncut and honest. The rest of us laugh because we know what he means. No, he can't. 

We'd all agree. There's no way to be happy all the time. 

Happiness is based on circumstances and fluctuates with the times. Joy shouldn't. It is found in the One who is unchanging and good. In the One who made us and called His creation good. The God who even when sin threatened to separate us from relationship with Him forever, had a plan to rescue us and bring us back to Himself. God who wants us to know just how much He loves us. God who longs for you and I to trust Him completely. The reason for Joy is because of Him. 

So why do I forget this? There is always something that threatens to steal my joy every day. How do I find my joy again? 

I've googled the word joy on Bible Gateway tonight and I'm printing these verses out. I'm committing to memorizing one or two a day and chewing on it until God imprints it on my heart. Today it involves crying out to God over a pan of dishes because it's still 9 days until our family is together again and my husband still is in intense pain. It means being honest about my heart to the Lord and asking Him for joy in the midst of pain and grief. 

My daughter asks me as we debrief our day, Mom, how do I grieve and be joyful at the same time? How did she know I was thinking the same thing?

   .. in His presence is fulness of joy...... 
   photo courtesy of M, my son who, too is learning what this means

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


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