I smiled to myself when I opened my HOPE book last week and realized the topic was joy. It was just what I needed to read because I definitely am not feeling very “joyful” this Christmas–at least not in the way the world would define joy.
“The truth is, it is possible to be filled with joy and still not be described as “happy.” Sometimes we’re just plain sad, not only down in our hearts, but down to our toes…
…The Bible says, “A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22, NASB). As we savor the joy we have in Christ, we feel the healing power of that medicine. In fact, our joy should be as consistent as God is. It doesn’t have to be tied to the turbulent conditions of our feelings and moods. Our joy is grounded in God. It flows from him and back to him. Joy is not something we can generate with positive thinking or a bit of humor. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in our inner lives. Joy shines forth from the life of the true believer, no matter how dark the circumstances. Joy in God deserves our constant, courageous pursuit.” -Nancy Guthrie
How reassuring is it to know that our joy isn’t tied to the sometimes turbulent conditions around us?
It isn’t tied to how sad I am feeling as we prepare to celebrate this first Christmas without Cora. It isn’t tied to how my heart hurts when I see all these happy Christmas cards and realize again that there will be no family pictures with Cora this year. It isn’t tied to how sad I am that Cora won’t be here to welcome her new brother or sister with us. It isn’t even tied to how much love we will feel when we meet Baby Mac any day now. True joy does not necessarily equal happiness.
My joy is grounded in Christ.
And I can experience deep joy, even in the midst of sorrow,
because my hope is in Christ.
That doesn’t mean we won’t have any tears or sadness.
But, I pray that this true joy is what others see shining from my life and family,
even during this first Christmas without Cora.