Finding Joy

advent

Written by: Jill Hoven

It’s Joy to the World season full of celebrations, concerts, cookies and crying. Wait, crying? Yes. While joyous for many, this season is anything but for others. How do we find joy when mourning loss or rejections swirl like sudden snowstorms? If life feels more like an open wound than a Christmas carol, take heart. Remember the One who will help us reclaim our joy. His name is Immanuel-God with us. (Matthew 1:23)

King David was a man of great feelings. He shares his pain as he cried out to God and his subsequent revelation in Psalm 30:5b (NLT):
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
He further goes on to describe in verses 11-12 how God:
…turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

How do we get from mourning and sadness to joy like David? Not by our own strength, that’s for sure. When feeling overwhelmed or sad but let’s heed the words of Nehemiah to his people as they wept on a day meant to recognize God’s provision:
And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” ~Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)

When the people heard God’s Word they were then able to “celebrate with great joy”, verse 12 tells us.

We don’t always feel joy. We don’t always want to be joyful. But living with Jesus as our Savior helps us understand this world is not the end. Our joy comes in the morning because we recognize this is just the beginning of God’s plan. Jesus was born for one purpose-to save us. He came to be our Immanuel-God with us, not just to hang out, but to do what we could not: save ourselves.

We can have a joyful heart and choose to always be joyful (1 Thessalonians 5:16) because this life is but a speck in God’s master plan. We rejoice and enjoy life even amid pain and sorrow because God IS with us. He came, lived the perfect life, died and rose again so we might live with Him forever. Trusting in this, how can we be anything but joyful?

Life is difficult at times, no doubt. We may not always understand why things happen, but let’s remember what Jesus Himself tells us in John 16:33 (NLT):
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

The Joy of the Lord is our strength. Want joy this Christmas or anytime? Seek and draw upon His strength. He is with us, our Immanuel. We choose to joyfully sing about our Joy to the World this Christmas because it’s in Him alone we find our Joy.

jill-hovenJill Hoven is a nurse who loves to write faith-based encouragement on wellness in soul, mind and body. She is the founder of MemoryMinders http://memoryminders.net/ providing memory wellness services to motivated adults. When not cheering her teens at their sporting events, she can be found golfing, cooking or by the water. Her writing has been published by Proverbs 31 Ministries and can be found on her blog Follow His Footprints http://www.followhisfootprints.org/ where she shares her efforts to follow His path. Connect with her on
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