Artist, Author, Mental & Spiritual Health Mentor, Coach for the Creative Mind
Joy to the world! How we can experience that Joy.
Joy to the world! How we can experience that Joy.

Joy to the world! How we can experience that Joy.

One of the best-known Christmas carols is of course Joy to the world. It describes all the ways that Christmas brought joy into the world through the Christ child. But what does joy mean for us today? It’s a word that is often mistaken for its weaker counterpart happiness, a feeling that many of us strive for daily. Happiness and joy are not the same. Happiness is fleeting and dependent on circumstance. It is temporary and often illusive. But joy…well what is it? And how can we experience that joy given to the world in our lives?

It’s so much more…

Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure or happiness. To me, this definition really doesn’t do it any justice. It implies a fleeting and temporary nature, much like happiness and pleasure, that true joy is above. It is present in any situation and forces us to look beyond our circumstances and tap into deeper truths.

Here are four views on joy:

It flows from thankfulness

As I mentioned above, happiness is circumstance-dependent. We are not happy when things are not going right. If something is out of kilter we tend to be anything but happy. Joyfulness, however, transcends circumstance. In the business of day-to-day life, we can become bogged down by all the varied tasks we have to complete. This is especially true in the lead-up to Christmas. If we are to experience a joyful Christmas, and dare I say year, then we must learn to slow down and rest in thankfulness.

When we deliberately take the time to stop and take stock of all the blessings that surround us we begin to realise that we have so much. All those things that we take for granted each day are the very things we need to focus on and be thankful for: a home, family, friends, food, warmth, pets, transportation, health, love…the list is literally endless. Appreciating what you have in your life, even if things are not going so well, taps into something far more precious than happiness.

It requires a focus

You are never going to experience true joy if you are always thinking woe is me. What we choose to focus on will determine our ability to feel joyfulness in our lives. When we focus on our inadequacies, our whole demeanour is altered. We become listless, depressed, shy, and fearful. If we recognise, however, that we are flawed individuals that cannot be perfect, will make mistakes, are continually growing and learning, then we can find joy in all circumstances. Look for the lessons to be learned. Appreciate the valleys for their instruction. Focus on the gifts you possess, be grateful for all that you have, and rejoice in the Giver of all good things.

It’s a choice

It’s clear, I hope, from what I’ve written so far that joy is a choice. We must choose it in order for us to manifest it in our lives. Joy gives us strength. When we choose to focus elsewhere, when we are not grateful for all that we have and are, we are sapped of strength. This depletion drags us down into despair, stress, fear, and loneliness. Why would we choose that?! Every day we must focus our eyes on good, pure, and unselfish things. Life is about giving of ourselves and we cannot do that if we are filled with darkness. Choose light, life, gratitude, thankfulness. Choose joy!

joy to the world. joy is strength. mother teresa.

It’s independent

Joy is the ability to appreciate and be thankful even in desperate times. Regardless of our circumstances, if we choose the ideas above, we can be joyful even in times of difficulty. Seems impossible, but I can promise that even in the darkest of times we can experience joy. I know. I’ve been there. This is possible when we have good things going on inside us. Where does our joy stem from? For many it is from our faith, for others it may be solely from the thankfulness and gratitude for all we are blessed with. Wherever our joy comes from it sustains us through trials. Negativity disables joy, so learning to choose it daily through the good times, will help you to do so through the bad.

This Christmas

The Christmas Story is bursting with joy! At every turn, we hear mention of the word from angels, shepherds, kings, and more. But what was so joyful about the birth of a baby? Well, you’d have to appreciate the significance of the baby being born. When any baby is born it brings joy to many people. But it is mainly the immediate family and friends that are involved. The baby in the nativity was not just for Mary and Joseph. He was for all mankind. In a land under Roman occupation and persecution, where so much was restricted and so many went without, to today where so many people live in pain and difficulty. To be able to experience joy despite this. The joy of Christmas brings hope to the world. There were so many reasons for all the characters in the nativity story to be downcast, to ignore the miraculous birth, to pass it off as insignificant.

But they didn’t.

They believed the prophecies, they followed the star, they trusted the angel, and into utter darkness, they embraced the light and joy of Christmas. The angel brought “good tidings of great joy” to the shepherds (see Luke 2:10). The wise men, when they saw the star, “rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (see Matthew 2:10). Elizabeth, when she heard Mary’s voice said that her baby “leaped in my womb for joy” (see Luke 1:44).

Embrace the joy of Christmas in your life today. And may it last you the whole year through!

Joy to the world! That means you!

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