Happiness is a positive feeling generally felt when circumstances are pleasing to the individual. Joy is a feeling of elation. The two are similar yet different. Happiness usually depends on life circumstances. Joy is a chosen response even when we are unhappy.
“A Heart Prepared: Savor the Story of Christmas Advent Legacy Journal” helped me to see joy on a deeper level. Elizabeth and Mary had great joy being used for God’s purpose despite of Elizabeth’s older age raising a young child and the scandal of Mary being pregnant before the wedding ceremony. What was amazing to me was that John the Baptist, a fetus, leaped for joy at the approach of Mary and Jesus, who also was a fetus. Let’s think about this; John the Baptist and Jesus died horrible deaths for God’s plan to be fulfilled for us to have an eternal home with Him. Yet joy abounded. Wow!
In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:42-45)
Strangely, all our holiday times have been joyful. My mom died on Christmas Eve in 2000 on a Saturday. Sunday I went to church as usual even though I could barely see through my tears as we uplifted our voices in song. I was encouraged not to come by kind-hearted church members, but I said it was the only place I needed to be, with God’s family worshiping His son’s birth and for comfort.
Our family gathering was especially joyful. It was a time of feasting, laughing, and talking about old memories despite the absence of my mom. It was like she was there, but she wasn’t. The gift I had for her was the angel you see above. It sits on my desk watching over me every day. Despite the unhappiness, joy remained and carried us through the Christmas/New Year week and the Homecoming of my mom. Happiness is conditional; joy is not.
Juel A. Fitzgerald has a degree in English and is a Toastmaster trained public speaker, loves to travel, and walk long distances with friends. She writes in four blogs and is the author of “Lives of a Gem! God’s Treasured Possession”, “Bible Trek: Reading the Bible in Thirteen Weeks”, and “The Twelve: Fishers of Men”.
These are her four blogs:
- Heart Emissions – weekly spiritual devotionals.
- Juel’s Travel Beacon – travel information and tips.
- Walking For God Challenge – one year blog to raise funds for HOPE worldwide.
- Writer’s Blog – writer’s journey, news and other information
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