The Gift of Joy
The word joy brings many images to mind. Joy is like the quiet rain, a child’s smile, a hug from a friend, the soft white snow on the pine tree, the gold of an aspen leaf against the blue sky, Easter, the unexpected gift, a new idea, the moon shining on the incoming tide, the excitement of love, laughter of friends – add your own images of joy. But joy is much more than this.
Joy goes beyond happiness, for one can feel joy in the midst of suffering.
Joy comes because we know we are children of God and loved by God.
Joy comes in loving, helping, giving and serving as did Jesus.
Joy was shared by Mary and Elizabeth as they acknowledged their pregnancies and
welcomed the Spirit of God in their midst.
Joy comes as we are guided and live by the Spirit of the risen Christ.
Some thoughts for reflection:
Joy is prayer – Joy is strength – Joy is love – Joy is the net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ Risen. Mother Teresa
We will be able to turn this nation upside down and right side up, and we may just be able to speed up the day when people everywhere will be able to cry out that we are children of God, made in God’s image. This will be a glorious day; at that moment the morning stars will sing together, and children of God will shout for joy. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Light a candle of joy
for each new day God gives to me;
for the smile of friends and loved ones;
for the knowledge that God is at work in the world and in me;
for the members and friends of my worshipping community;
for God’s gift of Jesus, friend and Savior.
Let us pray: O Lord, our hearts rejoice in the glad tidings of Christ. Yet with all our joy, we know there is much in us that deafens our ears to the sound of angel anthems, much that blinds us to the sight of guiding stars amid the darkness, much that crowds our hearts and minds, leaving little room for you. Give us the courage to welcome you with our whole being, so that we can be blest with a renewed sense of joy, hope, love and peace. Amen.
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.