No doubt you’re hearing the word “JOY” a lot right now. It’s the holiday season and JOY is all around us:
JOY is printed on our holiday cards.
JOY is often paired with the words ‘Love’ and ‘Peace.’
You can find JOY in holiday decorations.
There are also derivatives of the word JOY…like “Enjoy” and “Rejoice.”
Many Christmas carols contain the word ‘joy’:
- Joy to the World
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (tidings of comfort and joy)
- Oh, Come All Ye Faithful (joyful and triumphant)
- Good Christian Men Rejoice
Right now, you may be lucky enough to find JOY for half price:
I even composed this sentence to use in my own Christmas card this year:
Yes, JOY seems to be everywhere this time of year, but what does JOY really mean? What was I actually saying to friends and family when I wrote: “Wishing you joy this Holiday Season.”
The dictionary names synonyms for joy: happiness, glee, delight, gladness, jubilation. I began wondering what the difference was between ‘joy’ and ‘happiness.’
According to GotQuestions.org, the dictionary’s definition of happiness is “a state of well-being; a pleasurable or satisfying experience.” The definition of the word rejoice, related to the word joy, is “to feel great delight; to be glad.” (Depending on the translation, the Bible uses the words happy and happiness about 30 times, while joy and rejoice appear over 300 times.)
Wow, I never knew there were so many connotations for JOY.
After some thought, I believe the essence of JOY comes from a combination of two elements: gratitude and gladness. It’s much more than a material thing, or a fleeting feeling–it’s a life choice. I love this quote by Henri J.M. Nouwen: “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
So, on this Christmas Day, I truly wish you JOY.
In memory of amazing Moni Bittenbinder, who spread JOY and light wherever she went.
She (and her joy) will surely be missed.