I don’t know whether you had picked up yet that I have a real thing about JOY.
Joy is not about excited, exuberant, ecstatic moments with fireworks being let off and million-pound mansions being won in prize draws.
Joy is not about belly laughing all the time, crying tears of laughter and doubled up with the pain of it.
Joy is often the quiet moments of reflection when life feels good and all is well.
Joy is often found in those moments when the next part of your life’s work in completed, or your dreams have become one step closer.
For some it is in the arms of someone who loves you very much, or someone in your arms that you love more than words can say.
For others it is the peace found in knowing that there is nothing, in this moment, that can harm you or be any more right than it is just now.
Joy is an almost incomprehensible mix of satisfaction, peace, contentment, harmony and balance – sometimes with the world but often just deep within. Striving stops, struggle ceases and the internal voices of dissatisfaction fall silent.
But this is where the world steps in and seeks to undermine that Joy.
Teddy Roosevelt (where all our Teddy Bears originate) said: Comparison is the thief of Joy.
For the world will try and take our joy, convince us that it is unnatural to stop and rest.
So many voices of more and now try to drown out enough and soon to be.
For in that moment when we find joy – contentment and peace in who we are and what we have – the little voice of ‘it could be more, it could be better, it could be bigger, it could be yours’.
And this is when our Joy is stolen. And this crime often goes unpunished despite the damage that it does.
And Jesus said Come to me all who carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. And Paul says not to compare ourselves to those around us but the keep serving God in the best way that we can. And David says as for me and my house, we will praise the Lord.
It takes strength to find Joy and even greater strengths to keep it.
It takes character and power and faith to keep Joy in our hearts when the world starts whispering.
But take a moment today to measure your joy and choose to protect whatever you have of it. Like Gold or jewels or a precious thing.
Consider the blessings that you have, the achievements you have made, the barriers overcome, the prayers that have been answered.
Consider the times you have served others and seen that kindness bring you Joy, and maybe plan a few more.
And consider the Joy that God has for us as we glimpse his Godliness and rest in the Joy that springs from our faith.
May you find Joy in everything that you do. May others find Joy in your faith and in your works.
And May you know the Joy that comes from knowing God and following Him. Amen.