What Are You Seeking, Happiness or Joy?
Happiness, it’s all the rage with the human race. We’ve always been quite infatuated with the idea of happiness – after all, it’s only human right? But what makes you happy? Have you ever really stopped to think about it? And on what level does happiness apply to your wishes for satisfaction? Is it something as simple as a good meal or the carefree giggle of a child? Perhaps you just received the perfect Christmas gift and that made you happy. Or does your happiness depend on something deeper? Does it, perhaps, lead to spiritual joy?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be happy, even in superficial ways. After all, God created us and gave us an amazing world in which to live. Happiness can be the silly giggle of a child when you dance to the Chicken Dance with her – while sitting in your computer chair – with the audience of an intrigued one year old. It can be knowing that your husband is in the kitchen, concocting a scrumptious meal – even though it’s meatless Friday and you’d rather have a steak. Gardening and creating and planning our dream cabin makes me happy – as does looking deep into the endless depth of one of our 12 grandchildren’s soulful eyes. Yet, in allowing God into even the mundane, we often find ourselves awakened and hungering for more than fleeting happy thoughts. In becoming enlightened, we begin to seek a more permanent and eternal joy.
There’s a deeper type of happiness – of a more Eternal nature. One form of happiness doesn’t preclude the other. We can find happiness – even spiritual joy – from our faith life. From knowing that we’ve delved into something that is difficult to discern and yet have come to a solid decision. Joy is walking out of the confessional and knowing Jesus has just listened to and forgiven your sins.
My joy also hinges on the knowledge that someone I love is making good, moral decisions. Praying for those I love (and those I don’t) also brings me happiness – even joy.
During this Season of Christmas we exclaim, “Joy to the world!”. Our Emmanuel has once again brought glad tidings of true joy. An annual reminder that we are born for a deeper purpose, a lasting joy.
“Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel.” (Is 12:6)