Memories make me happy. Certain times in the present make me happy. Watching children play makes me happy. Hearing music, listening to music, singing to music, dancing to music, these things make me happy.
I am happy when I make a connection with another individual. Sometimes it is not easy, sometimes it is so difficult it hurts, but when an honest connection is made, that make me happy, and brings me joy.
Happiness and joyfulness. What is the difference? In our culture, they are basically synonymous. But as a Christian, I am called to be countercultural. Or at least odd.
Joy becomes realized in the midst of the pain of this world. Joy comes with the promise of the hope of the coming kingdom. Joy is present even in the midst of a struggling time and pain.
Happiness is fleeting. Happiness can sometimes feel like joy, and can coincide with joy, but it is more of a surface reaction rather than a deep seated promise.
But, I like being happy. I feel good when I am happy. I want to feel happy more, and when things are going great, then I can feel the happiness of the moment.
I’m happy when my football team scores a goal, or my basketball team makes a basket. I’m happy when something I cook comes out right. I’m happy when I am finished with work and I have time to play. I’m happy when I get to spend time with my loved ones. Especially my special one. But happiness, when I am happiest, doesn’t always stick around.
Happiness can be shattered in an instant. Folks will say, only you can decide what makes you happy and what makes you sad, but there are things that I don’t have control over that steal all happiness from me.
That stealing, that fleeting feeling, that momentary pleasure, that is why I need joy.
I need joy in the midst of sorrow, and in the midst of judgment, and in the midst of trying times. Joy is a gift from God and no one can steal it from me.
Joy is a gift from God, and no one can steal it from you, either. It is not like happiness, that comes and goes as it will. No, joy is a deep-seated promise and a current reality in which you can live. Joy comes and stays.
In the promise of this joy that can come and be with us, we know that there is a deeper, and more full promise. Joy comes because of the salvation of Christ. Joy comes with the promise of the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God is a definite promise, and something that we currently live in and expectantly wait for. The Kingdom of God will be where Joy is complete, and everyone dances and sings with abandon. And that makes me happy.