I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:11-13 NIVUK)
Happiness & Joy
“I’m shallow enough, that shot makes me happy”, I joked after a much better than usual golf shot. My mood on the golf course can be shaped by success, failure, the people I am with, the beauty of creation, the cold and rain…. happiness is an emotion that’s a result of circumstances. Joy, though, is a spiritual engagement with the world based on gratitude. (Richard Wagamese, Embers, One Ojibway’s meditations, p 140). I read that the other morning and it got me thinking.
Joy and gratitude are soulmates. Happiness is a flirt. Joy is something deeper and I believe, relational. It connects first with gratitude for the life we have been given, not entitlement. Gratitude can inspire awareness of even the smallest grace notes in life. But it starts with a healthy, grateful relationship with God who has loved, forgiven and provided for us.
When bullets rained down on a concert, the happiness of the moment was destroyed. But there has been much reflection of gratitude for the expressions of human caring and sacrifice expressed during the maelstrom - but only understood afterwards on reflection.
Moments of thanksgiving and gratitude for the love of a spouse, the touch of a friend, the laughter shared by friends even in extreme circumstances – these are moments of joy. Jesus’ joy was expressed in endurance and humility for the greater good of us all. We learn from his example and are empowered by his presence.
A Prayer for Today
Loving Father, thank you for life, breath, hope and faith in a world that sometimes seems mad. It’s hard to be happy when everything around me is a challenge. Yet I thank you for the love I receive from you and your friends as I journey forward. It brings me deep joy. Let me love as my expression of gratitude …. for Jesus’ sake