It has been my favorite word for a good amount of time now. People think of me when they see it – I hope because it describes me, but probably because I talk about it so much. I also believe it should always be capitalized. It just makes sense, ya know?
JOY. I love that this is an all-year-round word, but also a Christmas word.
And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great JOY that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)
I read an article that said, “It struck me, as I began to read this story once again, that apart from the angels, no one would have understood what the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ meant — not the shepherds, not Joseph, not even Mary.”
And this news that they brought? Good news of great JOY.
Think about this for one second. Angels appear to shepherds (dirty, poor, smelly guys) late at night and tell them that they have “good news of great JOY.” And what is that good news?
“A Savior has been born.”
Awesome! How do we find him?
“Look for a baby.”
I’m honestly surprised anyone involved in the Christmas story believed any part of it. I guess that’s what happens when a host of angels appears to you in the middle of your night shift.
Here’s the thing about this good news of great JOY. It is insanely complex. Thanks to Inside Out, I have this beautiful picture of JOY – it is incomplete without our other emotions and experiences. JOY is not happiness; it is fulfillment in the midst of the chaos around us.
It is finding the beauty in the mundane, peace in the messy, and awe in the miraculous. JOY calls us to live as fuller, deeper, truer versions of ourselves. The announcement to the shepherds was to tell them that Jesus will bring JOY to all the people. It is available for you and me, through Him.
JOY is messy. Just like life, and just like us. It demands that we thrive. It asks us to be more, to love more, and to feel more. It asks us to not be complacent, to not waste. It takes up a lot of room – but in the best way possible. When we choose to house JOY, we evict jealousy, doubt, and fear, the three worst tenants possible. JOY demands that we declutter. It embodies so much, and it doesn’t leave room for anything else.
And like that article said, JOY brings truth. Without the “good news of great JOY” they would not have had any idea of the significance that night. They wouldn’t have known that the baby that happened to be born in a barn was the Savior of the world. JOY beckons us to believe. To believe that Jesus is all we need, our full and complete salvation. The humble baby, born to a humble girl, was the greatest gift we’ve ever received. He is our JOY, and we need nothing else.
Make room for JOY in this season, and all-year-round. When you do, it will leave no room for those other pesky things that we don’t want anyways. The great thing about JOY? If you start calling to it, and looking for it, it isn’t very good at hiding. You’ll find it real quick. Start making a list of your JOY-sightings. Here are some of mine:
- Encouraging words from co-workers
- Chances to be brave
- Songs at church about “making room” (go ahead and buy this album from my church’s worship team)
- Getting to see a friend’s dream become a reality
- Morning phone calls with my Mama to talk me off my crazy-ledge
- Holding a puppy at work
- Zoo lights with my favorite people
- The quiet peace that snow brings early in the morning