Several years ago, I had this life-changing revelation about the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness, as I have experienced it, has always been a momentary emotion that never seems to last long. Joy, however, I have found to be steady and constant. Joy endures past the transitory moments and remains during the seasons of life where a smile is a tough thing to muster.
It’s easy to associate joy with the Christmas season. The uplifting music, sparkling decorations, and remembrance of Christ coming to earth to make “tidings of great joy.” Yet, during this Advent season, I have reflected on this year and am reminded of the many times the weight of life has been too much, and how often this year that I have felt empty and alone with feelings of joy far from me.
This Advent season, I am reminded that joy is truly a gift. A gift we can seek out, and a gift that we can dispose ourselves to receive more readily and more consciously. Pope Francis describes joy this way, “Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved. I understand the grief of people who have to endure great suffering, yet slowly but surely we all have to let the joy of faith slowly revive as a quiet yet firm trust, even amid the greatest distress.”
Not all of us are in seasons of great distress. You might be in an amazing season of life. Joy is something that is coming easily to you and I want you to give glory to God for that. I also would encourage you to hold onto that and continue to view life through this lens. Joy is less of a single act or moment and more of a lens through which we can view every situation we encounter in life, regardless of the immediate, inescapable sentiments and circumstances.
Ashley Osmera wrote a blog on Joy and was a huge inspiration for this post. She provides three tips for discovering Joy during Advent as well as Christmas:
Pray (Always the First Answer!)
Ask God for the grace to receive His gift of joy more actively and consciously in your daily life.
Immerse Yourself in Good Examples (or be an Example of Joy).
Ask advice from, and surround yourself with, people who are visibly living in a true spirit of joy. You can glean wisdom from the lives of the saints or from family, friends, and mentors
Do Small Acts of Love.
If the “lens” of joy is cleansed and sharpened by charity, then there is no better, more active way to seek out joy than by seeking out chances to love.
Praying for you all during this Advent season. I pray an enduring and sustaining joy in the good and the bad. I pray that you know and feel the joy of Christ over your life.
Jonathan grew up in Chula Vista, California up until he was 15 years old. He then moved to a small town in the High Desert called Barstow where he spent his high school years. He graduated with a degree in History/Political Science from Vanguard University in 2014. He is currently working as a Resident Coordinator at Vanguard, while he is completing his Master's degree in Organizational Psychology.