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Joy to the World

God's was the first voice I heard when I woke up this morning. He didn't speak through words, but He was among the first thoughts in my head, and as I threw back the covers, I felt joy bubbling close to the surface, risen from the deep place in me where it normally simmers under my other emotions.

I have things to say today and I'm not sure what they are yet. I'm just pounding on my keys and asking God to speak through me, asking you to follow where it goes.

Joy is a beautiful, inexplicable thing that transcends circumstances. It is the gift that keeps on giving, it is the power that keeps us moving forward when everything in life pushes back against us, it is the cord that tethers us to heaven, a little glimpse we carry with us everywhere of wonderful things yet to come. God knew we needed joy. He knew strength and courage and longsuffering and hope and conviction were all crucial to our journey, but not complete. He gave us joy as one of these tools for spiritual growth, yes, but he also gave us joy as a gift.

And we have a mission to share it.

It's funny how the holiday season rolls around and spreading joy becomes a focal point of the culture around us. Even people outside of faith in God acknowledge a certain beauty in giving joy to others, giving a part of ourselves—our time, our money, our resources, our love—in order to share the gift of joy with someone else, whether friend or stranger. I love that. I love that God's call to love others still permeates the world in certain places and times, stronger than Satan's efforts to undo it.

But what does that mean for us? If those who are without God can obey His call for peace and goodwill toward men, doesn't that mean that we, as His children, should be overflowing with joy, pursuing this mission at all times of the year?

We spend too much time concerned about ways to please ourselves. Traditions that bring us happiness, entertainment that brings us laughter, hobbies and pastimes that bring us diversion, even wonderful things—like time with loved ones, or time at church—that bring us fulfillment and family, among other beautiful things.

None of these things are negative. They are all blessings in their times and places and I want to make that clear. But if maintaining our traditions means we can't make time to do someone else a favour, or pursuing our pastimes means we're too tired to offer our energy to someone in need, or filling every spare second with church events means we're always safe in our cozy worship community instead of reaching out to those who don't know what that feels like—well, you get my point. We have a job to do. Joy to share. And as the only people in the world with an unlimited supply of real joy, we should be overflowing with it. Spilling it onto everyone we meet.

In the day ahead, the month ahead, the year ahead, let's find more ways to spread joy beyond ourselves. Let's share Christ's legacy of love and selfless grace and be his heralds of joy to the world.

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