Joy is such a difficult thing to explain to people who have never experienced it. I'm not talking about the joy of the world but rather the joy that God sent to the world. To the world joy is just a synonym for happy and even the unbeliever will tell you that you can't always be happy. Happiness is fleeting and conditional. It is based on what is happening at the moment. Joy, the true joy given by God, transcends our circumstances and brings us peace even during times of great sorrow and trials.
But, how do we as Christians maintain that joy, after all we are still only human, broken and imperfect and prone to doubts and depression just like anyone else. Well as I have been sharing with my Worship Team over the past couple of weeks, it has a lot to do with how much we trust and rely on God to be our provider and our refuge. Joy springs from knowing that God is who He said He is and He will do what He has said He will do. When we truly see God as "He Is" as the all providing and sufficient One then we will start to experience true Joy.
Yes, Joy to the World, for the Lord has come. He came to provide us with everything we need, even those things we didn't know we needed. Even today most people don't know that they need a savior, and not just a one time savior to pull them out of a bad situation but a continuous Savior who is there even when things look like they are going well. Christmas is about more than a baby, more than the angels, and more than the gifts the wise men brought. It is about the man the baby would become and what that man did on a cross for you and me.
So yes, I've seen my share of sorrows and disappointments, but even while I shed tears or worried over the future I was never overcome by those things. The joy of the Lord has been, and is, and will always be my strength. So even though my FMS is flaring up and I have to be in two places at once on most days during the holidays I won't lose my joy because it doesn't come from me.
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
- Psalm 121:1-2