Take a moment and reflect upon this past Christmas. Specifically, think about that ONE GIFT that you gave to someone you love. You anxiously awaited the big day you could give the gift, and the moment finally came. I bet you experienced JOY and a happy and full heart when that gift was unwrapped. You will not soon forget the tears, laughter, words of thanks, or hugs that followed. You experienced the truth—”it’s more blessed to give than receive.”
Helen Keller described JOY as “the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.”
Henri Nouwen was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer, and theologian. He wrote, “Whereas patience is the mother of expectation, it is expectation itself that brings new JOY to our lives. Jesus not only made us look at our pains but also beyond them. ‘You are sad now, but I shall see you again and your hearts will be full of JOY.’ A man or woman without hope in the future cannot live creatively in the present. The paradox of expectation indeed is that those who believe in tomorrow can better live today, that those who expect JOY to come out of sadness can discover the beginnings of a new life in the center of the old, that those who look forward to the returning Lord can discover him already in their midst.”
Upon first reading, Nouwen’s quote took me a little time to digest. Please consider reading his quote a second or third time.
I love the line, “…those who expect JOY to come out of sadness can discover the beginnings of a new life in the center of the old.”
Take a few minutes to meditate on Philippians 4:4. Allow God’s love manifested in JOY to rest upon you today.