There are lots of ways we experience joy…for me it’s a campfire on a chilly night, playing trucks with the boys, stomping around in the creek, and simply just being with family and friends!
The miracle of Jesus’ birth shares with us the secret to this question. For years I have told my boys this story and LEFT OUT THE JOY! How is that even possible? After preparing to share the Christmas story with Judson Weekday Preschool, I have begun to view this through a different (more joyful) lens, placing more emphasis on the following details:
Mary’s Joy: When the angel came to Mary and said that she had “found favor with God” and would give birth to Jesus, the Son of God, I can only imagine the overwhelming joy she felt! Then, she ran to visit Elizabeth and at the sound of Mary’s voice, the baby “leaped for JOY” inside Elizabeth’s womb. (Luke 1:28-45)
The Shepherd’s Joy: But the angel said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great JOY for all people!” (This is our memory verse for the month! Click here to print.) Luke 2:10
The Wise Men: When the wise men saw the star they were OVERJOYED! -Matthew 2:10-11
The reason for the shepherd’s, wise men, and Mary’s great JOY was that they recognized Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 7. He is Immanuel, which means God with us. Because He was born, we will never be alone. Jesus is always with us and that is the reason for our, great JOY!
We defined Joy as a feeling of contentment or deep gladness in our heart. No matter how the day is going or what happens, we can have a deep joy because Jesus was born and that changes everything!
Did you know the Bible also gives us ways we can experience more joy? Take time to reflect on the following verses and pick one to put into action with your child!
- Singing (Psalm 107:22)
- Promoting peace (Proverbs 12:20)
- Walking in faith (1 Peter 1:8)
- Loving one another (Phil. 2:2)
- Children walking in truth (2 John 4)
- Facing trials (James 1:2)
- Being in the presence of God (Psalm 16:11)
- Salvation, when nothing else is good (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Coco found the most perfect book for joy this season! If you are able to make it to the last page without tears of joy, I want to hear from you! Even Chip and Banks had tears in their eyes. When I had almost reached the end of the story, I asked Chip to take over reading, he read one word then was silent. Then he simply said, “It’s perfect. It really is.”
For younger children, Todd Parr has a sweet book with lots of tangible examples to describe joy.
After reading this, consider making your own Family Joyful Book! As you make pictures participating in your favorite activities, it’s very likely you will hear the phrase, “That was so fun!” And while this is true, there is also something deeper, something sacred going on. Joy is a fruit of the spirit, which means we can not produce it with our own strength. When the Holy Spirit is at work within us, we are filled with joy. So, call it out! Replace “that was so fun” with “that gave me so much joy!” I do not want to miss another opportunity to point my children towards Jesus, the source of all joy.