There are many words that float around this time of year. You can find them in cards, on ornaments, as store decorations and via music in the mall. Sometimes the words become so over-used that they seem to lose their meaning. Like “joy.” People love to reference joy during the holidays, but what does it really mean? Joy is often thought of as an emotion, and joy sometimes does come with a feeling of happiness, but it’s more than just an emotion.
In the story of Jesus’ birth, there are many examples of joy. One example is the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth. An angel had told Mary that she was pregnant with the Messiah. While of course, that was exciting, Mary was a virgin, engaged to a man. This was in a time period where women could actually be stoned for losing their virginity before marriage, and Mary was afraid that no one would believe her story. Her cousin, Elizabeth had also just found out that she was pregnant, but with a child that would become a prophet. When an angel told her husband, who was a high priest, he lost his ability to speak because he argued with the angel.
It was a very stressful, confusing time for the both of them. Yet, when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb kicked and leaped. The two women then spent time praising God together and expressing joy. They knew their lives were not going to be easy. They knew that their lives were changing. They also knew that God had promised them peace, and the coming of a Messiah, and that God was fulfilling His promises. In the midst of their circumstances, they had a joyful perspective, because God was doing good things in their present and for their future.
Finding joy in the holiday season isn’t always as simple as it’s made out to be. No matter how many places the word is plastered, it may still feel empty to you. Maybe you wonder how you can feel joy in the midst of grief, divorce, tense friendships, break-ups or strenuous schoolwork. But remember, joy is not an emotion. Joy is a perspective on life.
We can find joy in the promises that God gives us. He has promised to make good in our lives (Romans 8:28), to never leave us alone (John 14:18), to stand up for us (Psalm 18:16-19) and so much more. There’s joy to be found in the promises that God has given to us, and the knowledge that He always fulfills His promises.
We want to encourage you to have joy in the promises of God! Tweet to us @niNeMag with a need for joy, and we will tweet you back a promise from scripture. If you would rather reach out to us privately, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.