While on Christmas tour, my son Ethan, 11, called me with some fun news to share. He had spent all day Saturday, from 8am to 5pm, taking a class required by the state of Minnesota to drive a snowmobile! It was a long day of rules, information, and training. Then on Sunday at 1pm, the day he called me, he took his driving test to attain his snowmobile license. The news was good news indeed.
He passed and was now legal to trek across the globe on a snowmobile (kinda).
What caught my heart was as I was talking to him, he seemed like he was trying holding something inside. It was actually when I said to him, “Dude, you should be proud of yourself.” He said back to me, “I am, Dad. It’s just hard to talk because I can’t stop smiling.”
Webster’s dictionary says the word “joy” is a noun defined as: The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect possessing what one desires.
Ethan was experiencing some real joy!
So how does that happen during Advent? We sing “Joy to the World” and “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee” yet for many joy is way down the to-do list. All the stuff going on drains the tank. For some of us it is a really hard season for any number of reasons like a loss in the past, to fears of loneliness, hardships in the present time, and so on. I get that…
Ok, so if you’re not feeling the well-being, success, or good fortune, how do you find the joy that’s makes it hard to not smile?
First, look into the manger and see the very face of the One who is the giver of real joy and peace and realize you bring Him joy. Remember a verse like Zephaniah 3:17:
“The LORD your God is with you; He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with his love; He will rejoice over you with singing.”
That perfect God with no reason to fulfill a duty or obligation and has no needs, looks at you and me and takes delight in us. It’s like that we are His favorites…because we are.
Now, take that truth of how your Heavenly Father looks at you and live in it. When you know that the most powerful God of all is proud of you and adores you, no matter what you’ve done or how messy it is, what does that do inside of your heart?
Doesn’t it make it hard not to smile? Isn’t that the prospect of possessing what one desires? That desire being love.
Ok, so here is your assignment: As soon as you are done reading this, pick a Christmas song that brings you joy. Whatever song it is, TURN IT UP! And then…are you ready?
DANCE! Dance a weird dance; dance with someone in your house. Dance with your eyes closed like no one can see you. Just dance, friend.
You are allowed to dance and enjoy it. It will be really hard not to smile.
It’s a good taste of joy.
God is good all the time.