A new year. Fresh start. New beginning. Clean slate. Hope. Optimistic. Plans.
For others- another year. Rocky start. Same old same old. Cluttered slate. Hopeless. Pessimistic. No plan.
Where do you fit?
Why do you fit there?
The cheery words of “Happy New Year” carries with it a misnomer for many, but really, for all of us.
When things are going great or as planned, we are happy.
When things are going wrong and unplanned, we are not.
Because we have emotions, we kind of blame God when we’re not happy. Even though we know life is full of ups and downs, good and bad, we still expect God to come through for us and not let things make us too unhappy.
I mean, isn’t that part of “God loves you” and “has a wonderful plan for your life”?
When a building or bridge is constructed it has to be built on bedrock. We understand what will happen if the time is not taken to dig deep or the building will not be strong and sustain the elements.
When we are busy building our lives, there will be times to dig deep in order to stay strong and sustain the elements of unpredictability.
The bedrock of both happiness and unhappiness is this: joy.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
I could research joy and relay everyone else’s experiences and opinions, but instead, I will give you my first hand experience of joy.
Joy is knowing God. Not knowing about him. Even Satan knows about God.
I know God in a way that connects with me. He knows how we tick and precisely how he needs to connect with us because we are all unique. When he does that, you find yourself loving God for doing this in such a caring, personal way.
We know God just like we know anyone in our lives – by spending time with them.
I’ve learned a lot about God through the Bible, but mostly, through the world around me.
Do we ever get tired of looking up into the deep, night sky, wrapping the earth in comfort at the end of a busy day? Stars so far away we can’t grasp the distance but when one “shoots” across the sky with a trail of glitter we make a wish.
Whether it’s giant snowflakes falling in a slow-motion hush, a caterpillar enclosing itself in a jeweled home – forming brightly patterned wings in secret, or how flowers seem to smile and make us smile back, the earth weaves a story of beauty and ugliness, good and evil.
Joy is part of the beauty. It is light and buoyant. It pushes back the heavy darkness and reveals enough light to show there is a way through pain. We push it away at times but it still rests lightly near us, waiting for our invitation.
Joy is a steady light. Not too bright. Not too dim. Not too hot. Not too cold.
Happiness is bright and then it dims.
Happiness is hot and then leaves us cold.
Happiness plays with our emotions if we don’t have joy holding it up.
Joy accepts. Not necessarily without questions or happy feelings, but safely moored during a storm, safe inside, with steady, peaceful, contentment.
No matter what, let this be a “Joyful New Year”!