There is something deeply mysterious about joy. It is deeper than mere laughter, it is more than an emotion. Joy seems to combine both serenity and excitement along with a touch of humor or laughter. It seems to come as pure gift, emerging sometimes in an instant, sometimes as a gentle tide welling up. Perhaps its context is good news, or a humorous moment, Perhaps it exists with the satisfaction of a completed task or a reunion after an absence. It does not seem to be a learned response at all. It just is, it’s just there! Even the youngest infants show joy. It comes with the soul and is there from the start.
What is joy? It is the gift of God. We can only receive it, not cause it. It is gift.
I know that, in places, the Scriptures seem to command joy as though we could cause it. But notice those same Scriptures put that command in a context. For example, we are to not to “joy” but to “rejoice.” That is, we are to recall and revisit the joy the Lord has already bestowed, we are to “re-joy” in the Lord. Elsewhere the Scriptures say “Be joyful” but then add “in the Lord.” For joy is of God and comes from him.
Joy is an unmistakable foretaste of heaven. It leaps down from heaven and draws us up there for a time. For the Christian, joy should grow as we journey ever closer to that place where “joys will never end.”
At the interpersonal level it was once said, Laughter and shared joy is the closest distance between two people. I am not sure I want to affirm that without any distinctions, but there is surely a truth here. Sometimes two strangers on a subway can see something funny and, for a moment share the closeness of two long-time friends.
Yes, there is something deeply mysterious about joy, it is a deep gift, a wonder grace, and something earnestly to be sought. “RE-joy” in the Lord always, again I say it “re-joy!”
Joy to you!, as you watch this remarkable video and glimpse the joy of God on infant faces:
- Ex ore infantium, Deus, perfecisti laudem
- (From the mouths of infants you have perfected praise O God)
- Psalm 8:3