But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. (Isaiah 65:18, ESV)
She seemed to radiate from within, always with a smile upon her face. You knew she was kind and caring; she always had cookies and milk for visitors and surprised you with a home cooked meal as your were recovering from a minor surgery. It wasn’t until you stopped in to return a dish that you finally, officially met her husband. He had suffered a severe stroke some years before and was left mostly paralyzed. She was his full time caregiver, always with a smile. Her joyful attitude made you reflect upon you own attitude, especially during your recent time of difficulty.
Attitude is a choice, was a frequent saying during the teenage years, one that often had the opposite of the desired effect. Joy is an attitude, it is a reflection of our heart. David felt joy when he leapt and danced for the Lord! And we know David’s heart - he was seeking the Lord. The Lord brings joy, true joy into our lives.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9, ESV)
We all experience highs and lows in life. Do you leave it to the world to determine your joyfulness? Or do you leave it to the Lord? Many things in our lives are outside of our control - they will happen whether we want them to or not. But we can control how we react to them! Do we look at our trials, at our difficulties and grumble about how hard life is?
The Israelites constantly complained while they were wandering the desert. At times they though being slaves in Egypt was preferable to wandering the desert! Contrary to popular belief, it is not wealth and privilege that bring joy and happiness. King Solomon wrote an entire book of the Bible about trying to find joy through earthly pleasures. He was one of the richest man to ever exist, receiving over $1.1 billion each year, by today’s standards! If anyone should have been able to find joy in worldly possessions and pleasures, it would have been him! But he was unable to find joy, and ultimately realized it was only through a relationship with the Lord that true joy could be achieved! (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Christ’s return will surely be a time of great joy! For those that believed and followed him 2,000 years ago, it was a time of joy; it was a time of trial, but also the joy of knowing and being with Him. There is also joy in fellowship with other believers! There is joy in coming together to celebrate the anticipation, the hope, the peace of the Christmas season, of Advent! Take time this week to meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon the Joy of Advent. Do you control your attitude? Where do you find joy in your life?