Reminders: "Joy to the World"
by Ardith Hoff
Joy is not just for Christmas time. We should be singing that song all year long. When we think of the second line, “The lord has come.” we realize that Jesus doesn’t just come at Christmas, he has promised to be with us always. Reasons for joy are present every day. Remember Psalm 118:24: “This is a day that the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it.”
At a church conference in Omaha, Nebraska people were given helium filled balloons, and were told to release them at some point in the service when they felt like expressing the joy in their hearts. All through the service balloons ascended, but when it was over a third of the balloons were still unreleased.
We can only speculate that some people just weren’t feeling very joyful, or they didn’t think it was an appropriate thing to do. Some people think that church is a place to be serious all of the time. Having worshiped in a number of churches in my life, I found that some felt like I was at a funeral wake. At others it was obvious that joy permeated the building. The music was rousing and upbeat, the people were smiling and welcoming, the pastor was lively and sincere. People obviously felt pleasure in being there. Laughter could be heard before, during and after the services. It’s easy to want to worship in the kind of atmosphere where invisible “joy balloons” are being released regularly. “Strength and joy are in His place.”1 Chronicles 16:27
This is not to say that we should put on fake happy faces all of the time. There is a time to be thoughtful and to express our concerns for others.
Our joy is in knowing that God is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to help us in times of trouble. Our joy is in knowing that God answers prayers, and that we can rely on his mercy. Our joy is in knowing that Christ died for us, and that the troubles of this world are short lived in the grand scheme of things. Our joy is in knowing that if we believe in Christ, we will be with Him in heaven for all time. Don’t forget to release some “joy balloons” every day!