It’s a beautiful snowy morning here today as I sip my warm lemon water and look out my window at the trees all covered with snow. It’s a true winter wonderland out my window and I love it. There is a stillness and peace that falling snow brings that is hard to explain, it’s a quiet beauty. As much as sometimes winter can be a pain, I do love the way it makes us all slow down, a time for rest and renewal.
Every year I look forward to choosing a word, reflecting on the past year and anticipating a new year full of possibilities. You can read my past words of the year here. I’m sure part of this is due to my personality that loves change, newness and possibility. But I do think there is something to be said for examining our lives and seeking to grow, change and learn. We are never too old to keep seeking to be the best version of ourselves we can be.
It’s another year of change for our family. This year is a big one with our oldest daughter’s wedding in February, our third daughter’s graduation from high school in June and off to college in the fall, our 25th wedding anniversary in July, our youngest starting high school in the fall and our second oldest daughter graduating college in December. Whew! Everyone in our family has something exciting happening and it’s giving us plenty of reasons to celebrate. Yet within those exciting celebrations there is also a bit of sorrow with kids growing up, moving out, moving on and doing all the things we hoped they would do. It’s that strange mix of the joy and the sorrow together. The antonyms that co-exist, the bittersweet of our life’s work raising children.
So this year my word is JOY. Now I didn’t really want this word. It seems so basic, three little letters, overused on a lot of Christmas decor. Usually easily interchanged for happy by people. But joy is actually a very complex word. The definition of joy is
But the biblical definition of joy is the one I am using this year. It’s more than just happiness or good fortune.
The Bible teaches that true joy comes from within, and cannot be found in things outside of ourselves.
Joy isn’t like happiness which is based upon happenings or whether things are going well or not. No, joy remains even amidst the suffering. Joy is not happiness. Joy is an emotion that’s acquired by the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful. It could be described as exhilaration, delight, sheer gladness, and can result from a great success or a very beautiful or wonderful experience like a wedding or graduation but the definition of joy that the world holds is not nearly as amazing as biblical joy but joy is also gift. You can read more about biblical joy here.
Biblical joy comes from the Lord. It is a perpetual gladness of the heart that comes from knowing, experiencing, and trusting Jesus. Martin Lloyd-Jones said, “joy, in other words, is the response and the reaction of the soul to a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Moreover, biblical joy is not based on our possessions or circumstances like worldly joy. Warren Wiersbe defines joy as “that inward peace and sufficiency that is not affected by outward circumstances.” It, of course, doesn’t mean Christians must never feel or express their pain. The Christian life is wrought with afflictions, and like the psalmists, we should express our grief and pour out our hearts to God. You can read more about biblical joy and the rest of this article here.
Paul David Tripp is a favorite of mine and he does an excellent job talking about Joy here.
Joy is a choice. So this year, I am going to choose and even chase joy.
It won’t always be easy but what are the other options and do I honestly want that? Here are just a few antonyms of joy.
Misery, despair, unhappiness, disappointment, depression, gloom, worry, distress, boredom, dissatisfaction, discouragement, torment, irritation and pessimism.
Yeah, no thanks. So as much as it is up to me, I am choosing JOY this year! Because we are all choosing something.