By Christie Goodman
I recently had to pack up and move into a new office. Working for a non-profit sometimes means tightening your belt a bit. So, like Nikki Blair wrote about recently, I had a lot of culling to do. And since my new office is smaller than my old one and has more windows (yea!), I had to make some decisions about what could go on the walls.
One thing went undebated: my Garfield poster. I’ve never been a Garfield groupie, but this poster is special. I bought when I was in junior high school. With bent edges and faded colors, it has accompanied me for years, hanging in my school lockers, in my college dorm rooms and later in my various offices. It shows Garfield with his chin on the ground with droopy eyelids. He looks miserable. The first thought-bubble above him says:
“Oh boy, am I down,
down, down, down, down.”
The second and third bubbles say:
“Down, down, down,
dooby doo, down, down…
comma comma down
dooby doo down, down.”*
Joy is the song in our hearts. Sometimes it sounds like the fanfare of trumpets. Other times, it whispers our gratitude.
Joy is not the same thing as happiness. Happiness is based on circumstances. Rev. Michael Cheuk says: “Joy is not the product of outward conditions; it is the by-product of inner transformation.” Joy is habit of seeing light in darkness.
Galatians lists joy as one of the fruits of the spirit (5:22). And Luke even describes Jesus as being “full of joy through the Holy Spirit” (10:21).
In the Christian calendar, we proclaim our joy during the season of advent, anticipating the birth of the Christ child. But, today, we are in the season of Lent – looking forward to the most joyous event in Christian life. Interestingly, the Greek word for joy, “chara” is related to “charis,” meaning grace.
Grace. Gratitude. Joy.
Rev. John Claypool wrote, “Only when life is seen as a gift and received with the open hands of gratitude is it the joy God meant for it to be.”
Yes, God wants us to be joyful.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
*Ahh, Neil Sedaka. See http://www.azlyrics.com/