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Happiness is a cheap substitute for joy.

Oftentimes, we can substitute the emotion of happiness for the attitude of joy.  We think our joy is gone when our emotions change.  Dear one in Jesus, I humbly submit: this is not so.  Consider the third chorus of “O Holy Night”:

Christ is the Lord
O praise His name forever
His power and glory
Evermore proclaim
His power and glory
Evermore proclaim

“O Holy Night
Words and Music by Adolphe Charles Adam, John Sullivan Dwight and Placide Cappeau
Public Domain

In the time of the 8th century B.C. prophet, Isaiah, happiness was NOT what the people of God were feeling.  Quite the contrary.  They had witnessed the destruction of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) at the hands of the Assyrians and they knew it was the Lord’s judgment.

Now, Judah (the southern kingdom) was heading down the same path and the Lord was poised to bring his punishment on His wayward children.  It was not a “happy” time.

In the bleakness of his world, Isaiah is inspired by the Holy Spirit to write in Isaiah 12:2-6:

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.

Isaiah 12:2-6
New International Version
Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com

They were not invited to find their joy in their present circumstances.  Instead, they were invited to find joy in the Lord’s sustaining grace through any circumstance.  They were called to be joyful by faith.

On this side of the events of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, we are also called to be joyful by faith.  We’re not just invited to look back to Bethlehem in faith, but we are also invited to look forward in faith for our joy.

While we wait in the anticipation of our ultimate deliverance to Heaven, we also can find joy now because we know the Lord finishes what He starts.

Humbly, I offer three suggestions for discovering deep joy when the emotion of happiness flies away:

  1. Count your blessings.  Write them down.  It’s good medicine!
  2. Sing songs of praise.  Just as Isaiah 12:2-6 shows us: there’s power in praise.  It will change your outlook. 
  3. Encourage someone else.  Spiritual navel gazing seldom ends well, so bless someone else.  Lift them up.

Above all, remember:

Christ is the Lord
O praise His name forever
His power and glory
Evermore proclaim
His power and glory
Evermore proclaim

“O Holy Night
Words and Music by Adolphe Charles Adam, John Sullivan Dwight and Placide Cappeau
Public Domain