Who Needs Some Joy?

The student ministry has been reflecting and learning about Advent and what the candles in the Advent wreath represent. We have already talked about hope, love, and joy and will end with peace as Christmas arrives and 2018 comes to a close. One of these that has stuck out the most to me and the students is joy. Joy seems to be one of those emotions we talk about a lot, but do not necessarily understand.

To dive deeper into what true joy really is we read Psalm 94:19, “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” This was an interesting verse because of the last part “cheers my soul.”

When we think about being happy or needing joy, we want something or someone to cheer our mood. I just finished my third semester of seminary so I can tell you there is a big difference between cheering one’s mood and cheering one’s soul. Only God can truly cheer our soul and bring us true joy. The problem lies with the fact that we think we are feeling true joy when we get in a better mood. When we eat our favorite snack, share a meal with our favorite people, read our favorite book, or play our favorite sport we are not doing anything wrong, but we expect those things to bring us joy when all they are simply doing is cheering our moods.

When the student ministry talked about joy we started the Bible study by placing a piece of paper on each person’s back, and then took turns writing something we liked or admired about every person. Two things happened: it brought incredible joy to read the wonderful things everyone said about each other, but it also brought incredible joy to the individual that shared the things they liked about each other. That is the best part of God’s true joy. Once we have it we just have to share it, and joy is something that grows even when it is given away.

Advent is a time to seek Jesus through hope, love, joy, and peace, and to seek His arrival, but those things we seek during Advent can be the things we seek each day. Who needs some joy? I know I do. I hope that we can all start 2019 by seeking the Giver of true joy, and then find the amazing joy of giving it away.