As Christians, our "calling card" should be one of "joy".
We have been given the promise of Salvation through the merits and grace of Jesus; who came and lived and suffered and died and rose again to save us!
In this, there is absolute Truth.
In this, there is Faith.
In this, there is Love.
In this, there is Hope.
And so it follows, that in life, there should be joy.
I know so many people who have experienced great suffering in life. Women who have battled breast cancer, or lost a baby in miscarriage, or lost a husband in war. I know marriages that have struggled, parents who have buried children, and families that have been broken to pieces.
And yet, when any of these people were a people of God, they still found reason for joy.
At times, when someone professes that Christians are to be joyful in all things, there is a misconception there that says that this means we are to love our suffering or that we are to be joyful while we suffer.
This, of course, is not what the Scriptures tell us.
Saint Paul said that we are to give thanks in all things, yes.
But, what he meant by this was not that we must be thankful for the suffering; rather, thankful in the suffering.
If the same God Who is with us when we rejoice and sing and dance and smile is with us when we suffer (and, even though we can't always feel that, we know that He is) then there remains a reason to have joy.
Advent, Christmas, New Year's, Epiphany, and the many other wonderful Liturgical and holiday celebrations that come 'round this time of year are lovely things...but as we all know, these weeks and months can also take on a hustle and bustle that's out of control...over-scheduled, over shopped, over visited, over planned, over indulged.
When this happens, it's all too easy to get c-r-a-n-k-y.
We have a choice, however. We need not fall into the downward spiral of stress and depression and gloom and doom.
We can "choose joy".
No matter where we roam, who we see, or what we do, Jesus Christ remains in us and us in Him. He has gone before us to prepare our place!
This is a cause for joy!
It's amazing what a simple, friendly smile can do for someone who is feeling a bit down on a busy day.
It's amazing what one kind word can do to spread a little love in this world.
It's amazing how one act of kindness begets another and how a friendly gesture of hospitality can soothe and aching heart.
If we choose joy, then we will remember to say "hello" to a passer-by. We will remember to say "thank you" to a friend who wished us well. We will remember to lift up our hearts and minds in prayer to the Father and praise and glorify His name.
We will seek out the company of others and celebrate their uniqueness.
We will allow ourselves to be needed and resolve to stop, look, and listen, when a child beckons our attention.
We will not grumble, or sigh, or complain...but will help where needed with a joyful disposition.
Our joy should shine like a beacon of light from a distant shore into the world of darkness beyond our front doors.
Our joy should attract the hearts of others so that they recognize it and inquire from whence it came...to which we will have the privilege of replying, "It comes from Him Who is all joy".
Let us seek the joy that is all around us.
Let us embrace it and live it and share it.
For in the joy of Christ, there is eternal life.
Copyright 2010 Judy Dudich
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