Artful Advent // JOY
Monday, December 16, 2013
I am collaborating with some friends for an Artful Advent each Monday in December. This week's theme is JOY.
I've been thinking a lot about the meaning of the word "joy" lately. I think most often we consider joy to mean the same thing as happiness. But really it's not. It goes so much deeper than happiness, Because I think that feeling happy is often circumstantial and fleeting. My wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life. But it doesn't mean that the state of being married is what keeps me happy.
As I ponder Jesus' birth this month, I know that Him coming to earth and dying on a cross for me, is what brings freedom and JOY despite the fact that I will not be happy every day of my life. In fact, he promises that life with Him may be far from happy. Yet, like Paul had while singing praises from prison, there is great JOY still in our hearts. We are chosen, and loved, and forgiven and made new. Not just once, but every single day. That's why we can feel joy, even if our circumstances don't make us feel happy. Feelings are so inconsistent (I know this so well). But joy exists when our hearts are focused on eternal things, and not on current and ever-changing circumstances. It's being aware that we are made for so much more. And that death is not something to fear.
When would we ever say that it's "good news of great joy" that a baby is born knowing that 33 years later, he would die an excruciating, undeserved death? No one would say that. But God said it was. And Jesus did it so we could have joy. Not rainbows and roses everyday. But deep-in-your-bones joy, knowing that our lives mean something and that we don't go to the grave with nothing to look forward to. Death has been conquered.
Since I've included songs the past two Mondays I thought I would continue that. This week I'm loving Born To Die by Shane and Shane. It's such an abstract concept to wrap your brain around. That Jesus was literally born to die. I'm letting this sink in this week. That because a baby was born, with the purpose of dying for me, I now have life.
If you're learning or sharing something this week that fits in with the theme of JOY please do link up with us below or share on social media with the hashtag #artfuladvent. And make sure to check out the beautiful thoughts from my cohosts, Nathalie, Cassidy and Carrie this week!