The third week of advent is focused on Joy. Joy is not the same as happiness, although happiness can include joy. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), it has roots in gladness or peace of the heart (Luke 1:14), but it also should reflect our heart in moments of trials in life (James 1:2).
During Christmas we sing Joy to the World, God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, and others that reflect a sense of joy. But that joy can be mixed up with a sense of Christmas cheer where everyone is supposed to put on a smiling face and spread that cheer. But, joy is not about outward action but an inward gladness that comes from the heart. I think of joy as the part of me that sprang out of my heart when I first saw my son. I think of joy as the part of me that felt peace upon graduating with an education and a sense of accomplishment. And, joy is that part of me that feels peace in the midst of turmoil.
As you reflect on joy, what does joy look like in your life? And how, this advent season, can you enter into joy--not because it is expected of you, but because it springs from your heart?