|Year C, December 16, 2018||Rev. Dr. Ray Bagby|
|Third Sunday of Advent||Vicar|
|Christ Church, Mexia|
Bruce Larson reminds us that:
Here we might consider the relationship between joy and happiness. According to compassion.com, among other sources: There’s a difference between joy and happiness. But what that difference is, is difficult to define. Generally, joy is an underlying truth that good or bad circumstances can’t dictate; while happiness is rooted in circumstance. We are happy in good circumstances; in bad, not so much. In the Bible, for example, joy tends to be recalling God’s acts and hence God’s love for us, such as deliverance of Israel from bondage in Egypt or the return from exile in Babylonia. In the Psalms, joy comes from encountering God, or believers rejoice because of God’s love for them or the promise of salvation. Happiness depends on external factors and is considered an emotion which is transient. Joy is an attitude that is more resilient, longer lasting.
Here are some other ways of thinking about the differences:
In a similar vein, Sherwood Wirt in his book, Jesus, Man of Joy, writes:
And this brings me to what I believe Luke was trying to tell us today. The people, the tax collectors, the soldiers want to know what they are supposed to do to escape God’s wrath or, looking at it from a different direction, to experience joy. Share what you have, treat people with respect and honesty, be content with what you have – not constantly wanting more. In other words, care for those in need, seek justice and equality and peace and have integrity. Living in this way allows us to better experience God in our lives. And when we do that we will know true joy. Again, “Joy is the surest sign of the presence of God.”
In closing, let me suggest this: tomorrow or someday in the near future, when you awake in the morning, make a vow to do everything you do that day for God – don’t do it for yourself, your family or work, do it for God. I don’t care what you do, if it’s washing dishes, sweeping the floor – no matter how menial the task, do it as though you are doing it for God. If you are like me, you’ll find that you try a lot harder and you receive much more joy. Of course, it would be nice to do some of the things that God asks us to do for others as a part of our work that day. Then it will be even more meaningful and more joyous.
In the name of the one God, the Creator, the Word, and the Spirit.
For Questions or Comments, Contact the Christ Church Webmaster.