The greatness of God on display, the reason for our Joy is our Christ being deposited into the world. Joy is the highest form of contentment and a feeling that cannot be topped. Joy is an emotion that demands a response from the rest of our being.
Think about an infectious smile, eye contact that is made that grasps the soul, or even just some kind or inspirational words that make you want to be a part of what ever journey the speaker is on.
There are many times in life that we experience joy. Think about the first moments of riding your bike. I can remember when I finally rode a two wheeler for the first time. It was at day care and I rode that thing around in circles for as long as I could. I am sure kids were diving out of the way for safety, but non of that mattered to me. I was beaming with joy because I finally figured it out. Then sharing that news when my mom came to pick me up. Talking a mile a minute to explain the good news. It was life changing for me, I possibly looked like an annoying child to those around me… but again, it didn’t matter. This is of course a form of joy that is more temporal than long lasting. The memory still remains, even the memory of joy, but the emotion is now limited. Limited for obvious reason… who cares if I rode a bike in circles around day care. Who cares if I felt like I was in the grand prix… that was 30 years ago.
Scripture talks about the responses of joy when considering the coming of the Messiah. How about David. He penned the words “Come, everyone, and clap your hands for joy! Shout to God with joyful praise!”
Or in the message “Applause, everyone. Bravo, bravissimo! Shout God-songs at the top of your lungs!”
It creates such an amazing picture that the very joy in our hearts is where our Christian worship comes from. Good thing there are also musicians in our faith or we would just be hanging out in rooms shouting at each other.
Now think about that joy being released in the form of worship. That joy also creates more joy. There is great joy when we realize that our emotions, instincts and beings are all connected to Jesus and the joy we have inside can be exercised like a muscle.
To whatever extent we allow joy into our lives, that is the measure that we are able to release joy back to God. That is when we are truly singing joy to the world and worshipping fully.
However joy on a larger scale is a bit different. Lets think about the joy we personally experience as the micro and joy experienced en masse as the macro. There are few times in history where true joy has been sensed to that macro degree.
Perhaps the wonderment and joy of Adam and Eve as they got to run around naming animals and discovered how amazing purely lived life could be. A life where it seemed like nothing could ever go wrong. A life where they literally walked with God in a garden that He created just for them.
Or the reason that we gather throughout the advent season, the arrival of Jesus on earth. The very day that God decided to come and save humanity. The God that remembered his people. Hundreds of prophecies fulfilled in one moment. If we want to talk about Joy experienced en masse… how about that moment when the very definition of joy (God) entered the world. So joy is now planted into the world that we live in.
During Jesus ministry that joy was sensed. One day the disciples were walking and started shouting, cheering and worshiping. The religious rulers told Jesus to quiet them down. So Jesus responded by saying ‘If they don’t worship even the rocks will cry out’ – Luke 19 – or in the NLT ‘the rocks aside the road will burst into cheers.’
Our hearts need to cry out in someway shape or form if we know the Jesus that we say we do. Some of us sing, some serve, some love, some paint, but we all worship God through a position of joy.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the anointing of David and the anointing of Jesus. Think about this induction of joy into the earth as Jesus first anointing. But what a crazy way to be anointed. A group of dirty shepherds show up along side wise men to bring gifts and declare for the first time to the world that a saviour is born. Think about Jesus last anointing with the woman of ill repute. What an amazing picture that the joy of Christ can be experienced by anyone. You don’t have to be fancy, religious, popular or even well groomed… you just need to be willing.
The joy of a nation, the joy of a people and the reason that we sing. The definition of Joy, the invitation to all. During Advent we celebrate joy amongst other things but lets also share joy. That sharing is called worship.